Kelley Wyant
Article by: Kelley Wyant
Estimated 11 minutes read

You may have heard it helps to go to bed hungry to lose weight. But how much truth is there to that saying? 

Going to bed hungry is fine if you have eaten a well-balanced and healthy diet throughout the day that meets your nutritional needs. However, ensuring you've gotten enough calories throughout the day for your body type and lifestyle is essential. Eating a healthy snack before bed is better than depriving yourself of food.

Read on to learn more about deciding whether it is alright to go to bed hungry to lose weight and other safe dieting tips. 

Depressed overweight man hugging pillow on bed

Will Going to Bed Hungry Help Me Lose Weight?

Going to bed hungry is often touted as a means of losing weight, but there are many considerations when you go hungry. One of the first things to consider is why you are hungry before bed. 

When you diet, you often cut down on the number of meals or the amount of calories you eat during a day. This can leave you hungry at night. In these cases, hunger is a natural consequence of changing your lifestyle, especially following a more restrictive diet such as keto or vegan.

If you are practicing intermittent fasting, you may go to bed during a fasting period, which can leave you hungry. Also, a healthy diet consists of eating two or three balanced meals a day, without snacks in between. If you are used to having a late-night snack while watching TV in the evening, you may notice hunger before bed if you've changed this routine. 

The Dangers of Snacking

Snacking between meals can impact glucose levels and insulin response, potentially making weight management more challenging. Consuming snacks, particularly those high in refined carbohydrates or sugars, can lead to spikes in blood glucose levels, prompting the release of insulin to help regulate blood sugar.

Repeated spikes in blood sugar and subsequent insulin release may contribute to insulin resistance over time, interfering with the body's ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar levels effectively. This can ultimately lead to weight gain and increase the risk of metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

However, if you are going to bed hungry intentionally, skipping a big meal such as dinner regularly before bed to lose weight can be problematic. Skipping meals can lead to malnutrition. Additionally, if you are not consuming all the calories, vitamins, and minerals you need during the day, hunger at night may indicate undernutrition, which is also unhealthy. 

Taking a step back and evaluating your reason for night-time hunger is essential. Eating a small, healthy snack before bed is better than stopping eating and compromising your overall health. However, it is also important not to eat a large meal before bed. For the best weight loss solution, you need to strike a balance where you are satiated but not overly full. 

Is Going to Bed Hungry Bad For Me?

If you go to bed on an empty stomach, you may notice that the hunger pangs keep you awake at night. People who are hungry at bedtime often experience lower sleep quality. They may have trouble falling asleep. They may also not be able to get a deep sleep at night and wake up feeling worse the next morning.

When you don't get enough sleep, you produce a higher level of the hormone ghrelin. This hormone increases your appetite. Also, your body may produce less of the hormone leptin, which is the hormone responsible for the fullness feeling. These two factors combined can lead to weight gain. So, going to bed hungry can sometimes be counterproductive. 

Also, waiting long periods to eat when you are hungry can lead to low blood glucose (sugar). When your blood sugar levels are low, it's common to overeat at your next meal. You also often make quick, unhealthy choices that lead to foods that satisfy your cravings rather than contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This can lead to your body's metabolism being thrown off for the rest of the day. 

Undereating can also lead to malnutrition. It could be problematic for your body if you go hungry because you don't balance your meals and exercise routines safely. You must remember that exercise routines increase your body's need for calories. When you do not get enough nutrients, your body will begin to break down muscle for energy.

If malnutrition and overexercising persist, it can lead to a reduction of muscle mass, which could eventually lead to heart disease. You should always check out the most up-to-date guidance on how many calories you should eat for your sex, weight, and goals.

Is Eating Before Bed Bad For Me?

Although going to bed hungry can be uncomfortable, some research supports that it may be better to go to bed hungry than to eat a meal close to bedtime. According to a study from 2013, people who ate large meals 4 hours before bedtime were predisposed to having a higher body mass index (BMI) and more caloric intake throughout the day. 

Another study further explored these ideas and discovered that how long it is between your last meal and bedtime often indicates how frequently you eat throughout the day. People who eat large meals right before going to sleep often eat more times throughout the day as a whole. Limiting the amount of food you eat before bed is important, as large meals right before sleep can be problematic.

People who eat closer to bedtime often experience indigestion. When your stomach is full, lying down can upset your stomach. Additionally, as your body prepares for sleep, your metabolism slows down, so the extra calories right before bed can lead to obesity.

Large meals before bed may also result in sleep disruption since you may have stomach discomfort. So, eating large meals right before bed may negatively affect your overall weight and health. 

Healthy Dieting

If you want to lose weight and make better food choices, there are ways to promote a healthy lifestyle while avoiding staying overly hungry before bed. Most healthy diets promote eating three balanced meals daily with small snacks in between.

Although no specific diets will magically be perfect for everyone, studies show that some overall strategies tend to work better for weight loss than others. These strategies include the following:

  • Reducing daily calorie intake
  • Choosing low-calorie recipes
  • Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Eating more healthy fats
  • Limit sugar and salt intake
  • Check ingredient labels

Strategies for Healthy Dieting

Everyone's body and nutritional needs are different, so you may need to try a few strategies to find the best diet for you and your body. Meal timing may be as important as the amount of food you eat. Avoid eating a large meal right before bed, and ensure you are spacing out your meals throughout the day.

Based on your age, sex, height, current weight, and amount of exercise you get, your daily caloric intake will vary. Be sure to check with a medical professional to decide the best diet for your body type and lifestyle. There are also many online resources for finding out your ideal caloric intake.

For example, according to, a 50-year-old male who weighs about 250 pounds and is 6 feet tall would need to consume 2400 calories daily to achieve a healthy weight with minimal exercise. A healthy diet will make you feel more energy throughout the day and promote a good night's sleep, too.

A healthy diet can reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and increase your overall well-being. If you are struggling with weight loss and want to change your diet to promote overall wellness, a registered dietitian or nutritionist can give you tips on making better food choices and dieting more effectively. 

Time-Restricted Eating

Another dietary approach gaining popularity is time-restricted eating (TRE), also known as intermittent fasting. This method involves restricting your eating window to a specific timeframe each day, typically ranging from 6 to 12 hours, followed by a fasting period for the remainder of the day.

Research suggests that time-restricted eating may offer several benefits, including weight loss, improved metabolic health, and longevity. By compressing the window of time in which you consume food, you may naturally reduce your overall calorie intake, which can facilitate weight loss.

Moreover, time-restricted eating has been shown to influence various metabolic processes, such as insulin sensitivity and the body's ability to burn fat for energy. Some individuals find it easier to adhere to their dietary goals with this approach, as it provides a clear structure for eating and abstaining from food.

What Are Some of the Best Diets to Try Out?

The type of diet you try out depends on why you are dieting. Eating healthy and increasing your exercise may be enough if it is simply to lose weight. If you have specific health issues such as Type 2 Diabetes or high blood pressure, you may need to have a more restrictive diet to meet your body's needs.

The Mediterranean diet is often recommended for people who have cardiovascular diseases or Type 2 Diabetes. This diet focuses on eating many more fruits and vegetables, switching to whole grains, adding more fiber to your diet, and eating more seafood. The diet restricts the amount of processed foods and meats you eat, as well as sweets and alcohol.

Another popular diet right now is the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. You essentially reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume and replace them with fats to improve your metabolic rates. With this diet, you avoid sugary foods, starches and grains, fruit, legumes, and root vegetables. Instead, add more meat, fatty fish, eggs, and low-carb veggies to your diet. The keto diet is not recommended for individuals who suffer from pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder diseases. 

Before choosing a diet, thoroughly research the pros and cons and consult with a medical professional to determine whether that diet is the best choice for your lifestyle. 

View from fridge of young afro-american man opening refrigerator door late at night looking for snack

What Are Some Healthy Late-Night Snack Options?

To prevent going to bed with hunger pangs, having a quick snack can keep you satisfied and prevent you from overeating later. If you are looking for a quick, healthy late-night snack, try out these options:

  • Peanut butter and crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Popcorn
  • Cottage cheese and veggies
  • Trail mix
  • A handful of nuts
  • A banana
  • Turkey on whole grain bread

These bedtime snacks will keep you from feeling bad but won't make you overfull. Try to avoid foods that are high in fat or high in carbs, such as ice cream or chips, before bed. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down, which can result in weight gain or the tell-tale "dad bod." 

Consuming fewer calories right before bed is important to ensure healthy eating and better sleep. This will help you to stay healthier and happier as you age. 

What Else Can You Do To Promote Weight Loss?

If you find yourself struggling with sleep disturbances, unexplained weight gain, difficulty concentrating, or challenges with performance in the bedroom, it's possible that you may be experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, commonly referred to as low T.

Low testosterone can affect every aspect of your life. Many men report experiencing weight gain as a side effect of low T. Metabolism is the process your body uses to change food into energy. Your endocrine system helps control the rate and direction of your metabolism. Your pancreas also secretes hormones that contribute to the rate of metabolism in your body. 

When your testosterone levels decrease, your muscle mass declines, which can lead to a slower metabolism. Low T is often associated with obesity. So, if you keep trying diet and exercise to lose weight and get your life back on track and it is not working, you may need to look into testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

At Male Excel, we offer a convenient and safe way to get TRT online. TRT replenishes your body to the optimal hormone levels you used to have with daily treatments. This mimics your body's natural hormone production cycle. This approach is easily customizable to your body and poses less risks of side effects.

TRT can restore your energy, renew your confidence, promote weight loss, help with mental clarity and deeper sleep, and it will increase your sexual drive.


Although going to bed hungry may help you lose weight, it is essential to strike a balance between hunger and being too full before bed. Eating a small snack for bed may be better than going to bed hungry or eating a large meal.

Ensuring you meet your daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, and calories is important. This will ensure your body has enough energy to operate, especially if you pair a diet with exercise. 

If you are struggling with weight loss, you should seek out the help of a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Your doctor can also help suggest changes that can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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