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Is it better to go to bed hungry or eat before bed?

by (5768)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:17 PM
Created December 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Robb has talked about how not eating before bed gives you a better REM sleep, but I find that on occassion I am pretty hungry before bed. I usually eat dinner at 630 or and go to bed about 930. I am plenty full after dinner but around 830-9 the hunger starts. Should I listen to my hunger pangs or suck it up? And if I should eat then should I be protein or fat focused or both?

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6709 · January 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Every meat eating animal on the planet eats before it goes to sleep.... just sayin

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323 · December 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Definitely agree! I usually sleep better with something in my stomach, though.

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379 · December 15, 2010 at 10:26 AM

dude, I'd say if you're physically active and anywhere between 150-200 lbs that's not nearly enough. depending on your size/activity patterns i would aim toward a pound of protein for your biggest meal of the day. of course this should be varied, but 8-10oz avg seems pretty damn skimpy to me unless your biggest meal of the day is an early-afternoon kinda deal (which i certainly prefer) or you're a real small guy. on a side note — don't use olive oil for cooking! stick w/ the coconut oil, butter/ghee, tallow, or lard.

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20787 · December 15, 2010 at 4:23 AM

Something to consider is that good sleep quality has been linked to improved weight loss.

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20787 · December 15, 2010 at 4:22 AM

I think that's an individual thing. I have no problem sleeping right after eating or even waking up, eating a snack while half asleep, and then going back to sleep. I actually try to sleep within 3 hours of eating so I won't get hungry before I go to sleep, which is irritating. The trick for me has been to push back my dinner time.

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9647 · December 14, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Well the worry about eating before bed may not just be about weight loss but about impairing sleep quality. I for one always like to wait at least an hour to sleep after eating just because I don't think I sleep as well until the digestion has moved on a little bit. If it's a huge meal I'll wait two hours. This is all intuitive though.

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0 · December 14, 2010 at 1:23 PM

This is exactly what I would suggest. If you feel you are eating enough at dinner then you are more than likely looking for something to do when you feel "hungry" later at night. "The idle mind knows not what it wants." - Ennius

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5768 · December 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

it varies, but usually 8-10 oz of meat cooked in olive or coconut oil and a crap load of veges. Should I add some more meat or some almonds or something?

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19220 · December 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

What do you eat for dinner?

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8 Answers

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379 · December 14, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I would say you shouldn't eat before bed (try to give yourself 3+ hours). But more importantly, that shouldn't mean you have to 'suck it up.' If you have hunger pangs 2 hours after eating, you either must not be eating enough (protein+fat) or you still haven't normalized your hormonal signaling.

I'm no expert, but I'd say you should absolutely expect to be satiated for more than two hours after a big meal, and if you're not... well, find out why! Either eat a bigger dinner, with fewer carbs and more protein/fat, or perhaps your body is still adjusting to the paleo regime?

Personally I sometimes get the urge to eat late at night, but often I check myself ?????am I REALLY hungry (i.e. my body's telling me it needs more calories) or am I just looking for something pleasurable to do? More often it's the latter. Occupy yourself with something else and let the hunger go away on its own. I doubt your urges actually last the full hour before bed! usually they subside after 15 mins, no?

Or if you really need to, maybe eat some celery/fennel-style vegetable matter, and/or fill your stomach with water or tea. There are herbal (no-caffeine) teas that are supposed to suppress appetite (like hoodia, right?) but I've never tried them myself.

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6709 · January 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Every meat eating animal on the planet eats before it goes to sleep.... just sayin

531d5a7a372d018f11a7a9d641d83103
0 · December 14, 2010 at 1:23 PM

This is exactly what I would suggest. If you feel you are eating enough at dinner then you are more than likely looking for something to do when you feel "hungry" later at night. "The idle mind knows not what it wants." - Ennius

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1793 · December 14, 2010 at 1:46 PM

I usually find I am satiated for longer if there's a lot of fat and protein in the meal. Also, don't be afraid to stuff yourself a bit. I have no idea if this is true for you, but I imagine a lot of people new to paleo are hesitant to really go to town on a bunch of meat and fat, due to being exposed to conventional wisdom for so long. Go to town. Veggies are great, but good quality animal products should be the staple of your diet, IMHO.

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20787 · December 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM

I don't think there's enough data to say what you 'should' do. This happens to me sometimes. What I usually do is eat a bit if the hunger is strong and ignore it if the hunger is weak. Over time, this problem has lessened quite a bit. I think the main thing for me is to sleep well. If I am too hungry before bed, then I tend to wake up in the middle of the night hungry which is irritating and I find it hard to get back to sleep unless I get up and snack on something. As for eating before bed, recent research seems to suggest there is nothing particularly bad about it. Seems like that old assumption that it is somehow 'bad' to eat before bed or that it will make you gain weight has no research behind it and recent research seems to contradict it. In the lowcarb community, it is felt that if you feel very hungry, then you should eat. This diet is not supposed to entail too much suffering.

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20787 · December 15, 2010 at 4:22 AM

I think that's an individual thing. I have no problem sleeping right after eating or even waking up, eating a snack while half asleep, and then going back to sleep. I actually try to sleep within 3 hours of eating so I won't get hungry before I go to sleep, which is irritating. The trick for me has been to push back my dinner time.

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9647 · December 14, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Well the worry about eating before bed may not just be about weight loss but about impairing sleep quality. I for one always like to wait at least an hour to sleep after eating just because I don't think I sleep as well until the digestion has moved on a little bit. If it's a huge meal I'll wait two hours. This is all intuitive though.

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148 · December 14, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I eat dinner a little later, but do find myself in the same situation as yourself on a few occasions. What I usually do is eat a combination of a piece of fish or a hard boiled egg and either a piece of avocado or some unsweetened coconut chips with a glass of lemon water. nothing "heavy", just enough to stop the grumbling. Would like to see what others have to say about this also.

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0 · February 25, 2013 at 5:55 AM

I worked a hectic schedule this past weekend and literally only had time to get a hold of resturaunt food for 3 days with a few whey protein waters along the way haha and one apple (which tasted so good) now its sunday night 11:52pm I havent had time to eat today since about 430 pm. I am very hungry but am hesitant to eat because i want to go to sleep pretty much with in an hour. What should I do?

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0 · December 14, 2010 at 4:57 PM

i just read years ago that in outdoors its good to eat before sleeping. if its warm enough in hot climate it could be better to stay simple inside+

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323 · December 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I usually have a small meal (2-4 oz protein, minimal fruit, almonds/fat) 1 hour to 30 minutes before I go to bed. I like feeling sated before bed. Not sure if that's beneficial to losing weight, if that's your goal (it's mine), or not, but I sleep better when I've got something in my stomach. I don't think it should be a BIG meal, but something closer to a mini-meal. I Paleo-Zone, so I shoot for only a few blocks before bed.

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323 · December 15, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Definitely agree! I usually sleep better with something in my stomach, though.

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20787 · December 15, 2010 at 4:23 AM

Something to consider is that good sleep quality has been linked to improved weight loss.

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1103 · December 14, 2010 at 1:54 PM

my hubby and I usally eat a hand full of almonds some baby carrots and if its avaliable we'll have some berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries). Normally that'll make me feel better. He's normally more hungry than I am so he might have some leftover meat (such as turkey or chicken). We don't do this every night but there are some nights where we eat dinner and then a few hours later we're still hungry.

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