When You Eat Meat Before Bed, This Is What Happens

Nobody likes to go to bed with a growling stomach. Luckily, you don't have to skip bedtime snacking to maintain good health. "If you're hungry at night, you should eat something," Sarah Pflugradt, a family nutrition expert told Eating Well. "Eating at night will not slow down your metabolism, and if you're smart about snacking, you won't gain weight either." 

String cheese, nuts, yogurt, and popcorn, Pflugradt said, are all healthy late-night snack options. But diving into a bowl of pasta bolognese or noshing on a T-bone steak or burger before bedtime might stand in the way of a quality night's sleep.

So, what's the issue? Eating meat at night may leave you with a heavy stomach, explains "Living a Real Life With Real Food" book author and registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren (via Glamour). "And that can disrupt your sleep or even contribute to acid reflux," she says. 

Not all meat disrupts sleep

Not all late-at-night meat messes with sleep. "Simply avoiding meat at night is a very broad and vague statement and is not a necessary rule to live by," certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, CEO of NY Nutrition Group, told Glamour. Fish and chicken — leaner alternatives to beef, and both with a much lower fat content than a ribeye steak, for example — are much easier to digest while you slumber. Although consuming a large quantity (over four to six ounces) of any meat too close to bedtime, she noted, could still cause sleep disruption.

Healthline claims meat is a rich source of protein and contains other nutrients that make up a healthy diet. However, indulging in fatty cuts and large portions of beef, chicken or fish right before you hit the hay is a definite no-no, and you should wait for another time to enjoy extra spicy, greasy, or sugary foods, as well — all in the name of catching a good night's sleep.