What Time Should You Eat Dinner To Optimize Your Sleep Schedule?
When experimenting with your sleeping habits it is important to listen to your body and how your actions affect your energy levels when trying to optimize your sleep.
Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity
Planning your sleep schedule is a great strategy to ensure you have a deep, restful sleep, but it can be challenging to get a full 8 hours of rest when you are still feeling the aftermath of the large dinner you just ate.
Snacking before bed not only adds (sometimes unnecessary) calories to your daily intake, but it can also cause your blood sugar to spike and make you feel jittery and restless. Sleeping right after eating can also cause heartburn and indigestion, so it is best to keep your meals at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
If you are ready to coordinate your meals with your sleep schedule like a pro, follow these 4 tips:
1. Plan which time you would like to wake up.
The first step in figuring out when you should eat your last meal to optimize your sleep is to determine what time you wake up in the morning – and it is important to be honest with yourself during this step. Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, you can calculate your sleep schedule the same way.
2. Calculate what time you should go to sleep.
Once you know what time you would like to wake up, it is time to subtract 8 hours from this time to determine when you should try to be asleep.
- If you want to wake up at 5:30 AM, go to bed at 9:30 PM
- If you want to wake up by 7:30 AM, go to bed at 11:30 PM
- If you want to wake up at 10:00 AM, go to bed at 2:00 PM
Determine what time you should start your pre-sleep routine.
Unless you are one of those lucky few who fall asleep easily when your head hits the pillow, it is beneficial to establish a pre-sleep routine an hour before you want to go to sleep. The purpose of this hour is to allow your body to relax and settle down, so there are certain things you should implement and avoid in your pre-sleep routine:
- Put your phone and electronics away
- Do a mindful activity like meditating or journaling
- Read your favorite book
- Make a to-do list or plan your following day
Schedule your meals to fit within your sleep routine.
While you don’t want to eat your final meal of the day so early that you are hungry by the time you start your pre-sleep routine, it’s beneficial to eat dinner approximately 2-3 hours before you plan to sleep.
- If you wake up at 5:30 AM, go to sleep at 9:30 PM, and eat dinner around 6:30 PM.
- If you wake up at 7:30 AM, go to sleep at 11:30 PM, and eat dinner around 8:30 PM.
- If you wake up at 10:00 AM, go to sleep at 2:00 AM, and eat dinner around 11:00 PM.
Everyone is different, so when experimenting with your sleeping habits it is important to listen to your body and how your actions affect your energy levels when trying to optimize your sleep. For more information about the importance of recovery and nutrition when it comes to optimizing your energy levels, check out Outrun Gravity to connect with our expert coaches for a FREE consult today!