You get home late, you skimp on a big meal, and it's time to curl up and go to bed. But while lying down may seem like a good idea at first, you'll soon feel a stomach ache and start thinking that maybe this wasn't the best plan. But why is it bad to lie down after eating?
When you lie down after eating, your digestive system is thrown into disarray and at an angle that seems to defy gravity. This causes stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
Even the best mattress won't relieve indigestion, but it may help you fall asleep when the food finally wears off, so it's best to wait. 3 hours Before going to bed, before eating. To learn more about why it's bad to lie down after eating (this is an important part of the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep method) and what you can do to avoid reflux, read on. please read.
What happens if you lie down after eating?
The digestive system works best in an upright position because it is assisted by gravity. Lying down after eating can prevent this natural process from running smoothly and cause food to flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus. This is known as reflux and can cause painful heartburn.
When working properly, food travels through the esophagus, into the stomach, and into the small intestine (and beyond). When you're sitting, gravity can help this process, so everything moves more efficiently.
But when you lie down, your body has to work against gravity. Instead of moving forward toward the small intestine, the contents of the stomach can flow back toward the throat. Additionally, since the food has already reached the entrance to the stomach before regurgitating, it may also ingest stomach acid.
This reverse course can lead to unpleasant and even painful acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. When this happens in bed, you may have trouble sleeping or wake up feeling groggy.
But that doesn't mean the bed is the problem. Lying down anywhere after eating can cause indigestion. A sideways movie marathon on the couch after dinner is just as bad for your digestive system as bedtime.
How long should I wait to lie down after eating?
It is recommended that you wait 3 hours after eating before lying down. This makes it easier for food to pass through your digestive system, making you less likely to experience indigestion or stomach pain from ROM reflux.
Research has shown that this waiting time is especially important for people who suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). But we can all benefit from making an early dinner part of our bedtime routine.
There is also evidence to suggest that circadian rhythms allow for more efficient digestion when you eat earlier in the day, during your active phase. Our circadian rhythms also influence when we feel sleepy and when we feel awake, so it's important to keep everything in sync.
What happens if you go to bed immediately after eating?
Going to bed too soon after eating can prevent your body from properly digesting food because your digestive system is working against gravity. This can lead to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. You're also more likely to have trouble sleeping, and eating regularly late has also been linked to weight gain.
Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease
Acid reflux refers to the backflow of stomach contents along the digestive system and into the esophagus. For many people, this acid reflux manifests as heartburn, which is a relatively mild chest pain.
However, if acid reflux occurs regularly, it can lead to reflux esophagitis (gastroesophageal reflux disease). At this time, the throat begins to become irritated due to repeated reflux. Similar to heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause a burning sensation in the chest, but it can also cause difficulty swallowing, persistent coughing, and even asthma.
Studies have shown that people with gastroesophageal reflux disease are more likely to experience reflux than those who eat late at night or early in the evening. Additionally, some studies have found that mealtimes may be one of the main contributing factors for patients with GERD.
Eating before bed can wake you up unrelated to digestive issues (although digestive issues can have the same effect). When we eat, our bodies begin converting food into energy. Eating before bed can make you wake up more easily, disrupt your circadian rhythm, and make it harder to fall asleep. The 10-3-2-1-0 sleep method involves stopping eating three hours before bedtime to prepare yourself for sleep.
Eating before bed is also thought to be associated with weight gain, but more research is needed to prove exactly why this is true. It could be related to a slowing down of our digestive processes, but it's also possible that we're less likely to make healthy food choices when we're tired.
What if I need to eat in the evening?
While it may be best to eat three hours before bed, this isn't always a viable option. Due to busy schedules, many of us have to adjust our meals as much as possible, which can put mealtimes on the back burner. But there are some things you can do about it.
1. Eat as soon as possible
If you can't eat at least 3 hours before bedtime, try eating as early in the evening as possible. This will give your food time to digest before you lie down.and please consider what Eat – Try switching out heavy dinners for lighter ones and eating more for lunch instead.
2. Be active
After eating dinner, instead of heading straight to the couch, go for a walk. Studies have shown that walking reduces digestion time. This is good news if you have a short time until bed. Exercise helps you sleep better, so it helps on both counts.
3. Sleep on your left side
When you're in bed, think about your sleeping position. While sleeping on your side is good for your spine and posture, research shows that sleeping on your right side can increase your risk of developing reflux due to the position of your stomach. Try switching to your left side and placing a pillow between your knees to steady yourself.
4. Don't go hungry
While eating late may not be ideal, it's important to note that going to bed hungry is not the solution. An empty stomach can not only wake you up, but also wake you up when you finally wake up from your sleep. Choose light, healthy snacks made of foods that help you sleep, such as a handful of cashews. Also, avoid foods that make you sleepy, such as sweets, spicy foods, and foods with caffeine (no late-night chili chocolate).