The Link Between Intermittent Fasting & Sleep, From Research


The logic makes sense, as if you have an eating window of more than 12 hours, chances are you’re eating later in the night—and if that meal is super hearty or excessively sweet or spicy, it might mess with your slumber. “Our largest meals should not ever be close to bedtime,” Ferira adds, and plenty of research has associated late dinners or eating more calories late in the evening and short sleep duration (less than five hours). Of course, a growling, empty stomach can keep you up at night as well, so you do want to listen to your natural body cues if you are hungry at night—just opt for one of these foods that keep blood sugar levels steady and provide relaxing benefits. 

But let’s circle back to that 12 hours or less eating window: We know that there are many alterations to intermittent fasting, and some plans have more flexibility than others. The study Ferira mentions isn’t so strict about the exact schedule, so long as it’s less than 12 hours of eating. No matter the specific plan you follow, try to make sure it’s consistent every day—as the study notes, frequently changing the window of eating can have the opposite effect on sleep and overall health. You shouldn’t stay married to a plan that is unhelpful or unhealthy for you, but once you find one that works, do your best to stay consistent. 

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