The often-recommended practice of waiting at least two hours after eating before going to bed doesn’t have a significant effect on blood sugar levels after all, say Japanese researchers. Elevated blood sugar levels are associated with an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions linked, in part, to lifestyle.
For this study, which was published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, the researchers analyzed health data from 2012 to 2014 on 1,573 middle-aged and older adults with no known health problems related to high blood sugar. They examined:
- Eating habits (including whether study participants were fast or slow eaters and whether they regularly skipped breakfast)
- Smoking habits
- Alcohol intake
- Physical activity levels
- Weight gain since age 20
About 16 percent of the men in the study and more than 7 percent of the women regularly fell asleep within 2 hours of eating dinner. According to the researchers, average blood sugar (HbA1c) levels didn’t increase significantly from 2012 (5.2 percent) to 2014 (5.58 percent) and were more strongly associated with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, physical activity levels, smoking, and drinking, than intervals between eating and sleeping.