Is Sleeping after Eating Healthy?

Is sleeping after eating healthy? I love to eat a meal then fall asleep, but I always seem to feel my meal sitting like a rock in my stomach.

Like anyone else I get worried about weight gain from sleeping right after eating, but it is real or another myth? Everyone knows not to go swimming for at least 30 minutes after eating, but does the same apply to sleep?

Science has proven that the key to a healthy diet is balancing calories in versus calories out. If maintaining this balance is key does it matter when extra calories get burned off? Does waiting a few days to exercise actually make my bedtime snack cause weight gain?

Family sleeping in bed after big meal

Sleeping and Digestion

After eating our stomachs begin to break down food right away. If we fall asleep shortly after a meal or snack it can cause problems with digestion! But don’t worry… For most people these are not serious medical problems and usually cause an upset stomach at worst!

The human body was designed to digest food in an upright, vertical position. Laying down on a couch or under the covers in bed can throw off this balance. In some severe cases it can cause stomach acid to burn the esophagus or inner throat! Sure, crawling back into bed after a big meal may seem like a good idea but you could be causing long term damage to the inside of your stomach!

Best Sleeping Position for Digestion

The best sleep position for digestion is sitting upright, in a seated position since this is most natural. If you can’t sit upright while sleeping try laying flat on your back, with your spine as straight as possible to promote better digestion.

Sleeping and Weight Loss

Crawling into bed or falling asleep on the couch might feel great after a big meal, but if you are trying to lose (or maintain) weight this might hurt you in the long run!

Our bodies burn fewer calories while sleeping, meaning digestion ends up taking longer than normal! Instead of taking a nap try going on a short walk around the neighborhood to keep you awake and burn off some calories!

A bed with white pillows, night stand and lamp

Sleeping and Weight Loss

GERD and Acid Reflux can be made worse by laying down after eating. Partially digested food and stomach acid coming up into your esophagus can be painful, plus cause long term damage and scarring. If you suffer from either of these disease make sure to stay sitting or standing for at least 30 minutes after eating, or at least try sleeping in a comfortable chair!

Why do I get tired after eating? Many people report feeling tired after eating, especially after a large meal like thanksgiving dinner! We start to feel tired after eating a large meal (like turkey and mashed potatoes) because our bodies are working hard to digest and process the sugar and carbs in our stomach! As these foods break down and digest our blood sugar rises, then rapidly falls making us feel like we have no energy left!

Staying Up and Eating Late

Everyone loves a late night snack right before bed. Some of our favorite things to eat late at night are ice cream and chocolate chip cookies! They might not be the healthiest but they sure are good!

A late night snack is ok from time to time, but don’t let it become a habit or you risk gaining weight and causing havoc with your sleep cycle!

Sleeping after Lunch (Siestas)

Taking a short nap (or siesta as it is called in Spanish) after lunch is a nice way to freshen up and prepare for the rest of the day! If you are taking a siesta make sure to sleep for about 30 minutes or less. Any longer and you risk falling into a deep sleep! The goal of a siesta is to take a short, refreshing break! Not to sleep the afternoon away!


  • Take a short nap
  • Digest lunch
  • Prepare for the afternoon


  • Difficult in corporate jobs
  • 30 minute delay
  • Might over sleep

Sleeping after Breakfast

Many early risers want to know if it is healthy to crawl back in bed after breakfast. The answer is it depends! If you wake up at the crack of dawn, hit the gym then come home and cook a healthy breakfast and want to take a short power nap then we say go ahead!

This is even more true if you do extreme sports like rock climbing, off road biking or are into body building!

On the other hand, if you sleep in, eat a high sugar breakfast with a side of soda going back to bed is not a healthy option!

Marie Seska

Marie Seska

Marie Seska is one of the most trusted sources on the net for sleep information. She searches the web - as well as the latest medical journals to bring her readers the latest news and information.

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