T Nation

Food Before Bed


People are all over the place on this topic, so I wanted to relay my recent experience.

For the past 3 months I had been eating within 1 hour of my bedtime. It was usually something light, either 1-3 boiled eggs or 1 large bag of steamed broccoli. During that time I noticed that I would constantly wake up with 1-2 hours of going to bed, which was not only annoying but also terrible for overall sleep and recovery.

For the past 3 weeks I made a tweak, and have been strict about not over eating at dinner and have also made sure to finish that dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed. Within two days of implementing these rules I started sleeping soundly, and no longer had the problem of waking within 1-2 hours of going to sleep.

For most of the year I make sure to finish my dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime for body composition reasons, but now I've also found that I sleep much more soundly and wake up much more rested as well.

Just thought I might relay what's worked for me, as I think sleep is the second most important part of recovery next to diet.

Where do you stand?


I completely agree, I had my bio-signature taken (not the point) and i was told to stop taking my Casien shake before bed. I was originally a bit worried about losing muscle or at the very least not building as much. I have been sleeping better and not waking up as as often and have added a fairly significant amount of muscle with out eating anything closer then 1.5-2 hours before bed.


I think the catabolic overnight thing is way overblown.

How can you go catabolic at a time when your metabolism is LOWEST and when you're not lifting/depleting muscle glycogen? Even if you were on a VLCD and in ketosis, your activity levels should NOT result in NET catabolism while you are asleep.


Translation for Noobs = You Agree


I eat 1-1.5 Tbs. of almond butter. Sometimes a small glass of milk. Works well for me.


I usually also finish my dinner 1.5-2 hrs before bed, seems to work much better for me than eating directly before bed.

I also agree about the losing muscle theory, it just doesnt happen overnight unless you are doing something horribly wrong.


I really doubt that an hour or two difference in when you have your last feeding is going to make a world of difference. With my particular schedule, I have to get two feedings in after 7pm and before bed (I prefer to break them up rather than just double up numbers in one sitting). Because of this, I've been more reliant on a liquid prot fix last instead of solid food. As the body runs mostly off fatty acids during resting hours (sleep), as long as you've gotten some source of building materials (protein) within the last couple of hours, I wouldn't think that you'd end up in any sort of catabolic spiral.

I will note though that when I do eat right before bed, I always wake up absolutely starving in the morning! Whether this means my body has more adequately used what it was given during the night is beyond me though.



I can't tell if commenting on the catabolic part or the sleep part, but every time I eat within 60 minutes of bed I wake up 1-2 hours later, and every time I finish my meal at least 2+ hours before bed, I sleet soundly through the night. It's as simple as that.

As I said before, this is my personal experience, and I thought it might be helpful to relay to others.

It would be interesting to know, from a scientific standpoint, why one if far more hungry in the mornings after eatting right before bed.


I have read several articles over the last couple of years that imply sleep does not have to be 'un-broken' to be effective. It is counter-intuitive, but interesting.


Like, woah, you mean people react differently to things? AKA : Everyone is a little different?

No way. :slight_smile:

I say do what works. If your body ain't suffering for it and you sleep well then what's to change?


I'm the same way. If I go to bed full...I wake up starving. Doesn't make any sense to me. I used to take casein and 1 1/2 to 2tsp of peanut butter right before bed (in fear of catabolism), but now (trying to leanout) I take it anywhere from 1 1/2hr to 2 hrs before I go to bed and I don't wake up as hungry. Very starnge.

Interested in what others eat for last meal of the day whether on a bulk and on a cut?


I haven't slept solid through the night for years. Now I wonder if it is in fact due to my always eating a high protein meal or shake right before going to bed!


my guess is, it has something to do with mrs. dwarf


LOL! Man, you're fast, HM!


Thats what she said, BOOM!


I sleep like a log either way.

About waking up hungry after eating something before bed. I would think that it may have to do with the slight metabolic boost the meal gives you, like your body is ready to go(positive kcal), but there's no movement, so it metabolizes more than it should(perhaps?), and then you wake up hungry. Or maybe a meal before bed makes you dream more>>more brain activity = more kcal burned or maybe you get jimmy arms/legs and burn more kcal while you're sleeping(am I reaching far enough yet?)
Could also depend on what you ingest in terms of P/F/C. Who knows though, it's definately a very individual thing.

When I was was younger I actually rolled out of the bed while I was asleep and didn't wake up.


Yes. I'd like to understand this better too. I also consume two meals after 7pm (after training on weekdays actually). Last meal is casein and a fat source, no carbs.


when i was eating 6 small meals a day i would wake up every 3 or 4 hours hungry . when i switched to IF'ing that stopped and i now sleep right through . my last meal is at about 7pm and im in bed by 10pm


Bulking - Carbs at 45 minutes before bed or so are okay if from clean sources (sweet potatoes, rice, potatoes, etc, or malto/dextrose or the like if PM workout) in reasonable amounts. Overall, balanced blood sugar is my goal in the evening. Ultimately it leads to much better muscle growth (when coupled with a multifaceted approach).


See below

^THIS^ is how you do it. A small pre-bed boost in insulin will/may signal the body that nutrients are plentiful, storage is not necessary, so the nutrients can be shuttled for cell repair.

The hormone release could have many physique altering downstream effects. It seems this method might yield some of the same results as carb cycling, as long as the carbs we not too high.