The effects of eating before sleeping on a person's body and sleep quality are dependent on how much time is left between eating and sleeping and the amount of food eaten, according to NineMSN. Although one of the biggest concerns about sleeping after eating is its effect on body weight, Scientific American states that the action is not an inherent cause of weight gain.
According to NineMSN, the body is not built to take in large amounts of food right before bedtime. The heightened activity of the digestive system after a meal may contribute to poor sleep quality. However, pre-sleep hunger can also lead to poor sleep, so a light snack before bed is recommended to satisfy cravings and help fuel bodies for the night.
Sleeping after a meal does not significantly affect weight gain. The real key to losing weight is finding the best balance between energy consumed through calories and energy spent through physical activity, according to health professor Jeremy Barnes of Scientific American. Although exercising after a meal helps with weight loss more than sleeping, the action itself is not inherently harmful in this respect.
However, early research does indicate that sleeping immediately after eating may be correlated with a greater chance of stroke. According to WebMD, waiting to sleep 1 hour after dinner may decrease chances of stroke by 66 percent. It is important to note that the study examined is correlational, so it does not necessarily indicate cause and effect.