Eli5: Does eating late at night actually cause insomnia, or is it just a myth?

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I heard many people say that eating late at night causes insomnia because the digestive system is slowed down to prepare for sleeping. The food will just be sitting in your stomach which will cause a person to toss and turn and not get any sleep at all. My dinner always consists of heavy meals. I tend to eat dinner at 7:40 pm and finish around 8:12 pm. My bed time is at 9:40 pm. So, is this true or is it a myth? Should I eat dinner earlier, or is my schedule fine and I don’t need to change it?

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It probably won’t cause insomnia, but you will probably have disturbed sleep. Get a tracker and find out for yourself.

It will feed energy to your body so potentially giving you a little boost.
However, you also feel a little sleepy after big meals.
I think you’d only need to think carefully about it if it was a high sugar meal that would cause a spike and a crash.

Depends.

Personally, I do not have any fixed meal times, and I also don’t bother with early-morning breakfast or mid-day lunch. I do a full day, get home, maybe have a snack, and maybe cook a meal. Then the other meals are “when I feel like”. I’m quite happy having a “dinner” at 2am and then going straight to bed.

I basically never have a sleep problem, and never have one you can’t attribute to – say – disturbances (e.g. noise, illness etc.).

Try it, see what works for you. I found that the traditional meal timings are basically bunkum to me. I don’t feel overly hungry, or overly full, I just eat when I’m hungry and whatever I feel like (I also drink a LOT of caffeine and will do so as literally the last thing I do at night before going to bed… still no sleep problems) whenever I feel like it.

It’s not at all unusual for me to be cooking so late at night / early in the morning that I have to consider my neighbours (e.g. fire alarms, banging of pots, etc.). I work a regular daytime job, by the way.