Myth or Fact: Sleeping When Hungry Causes Nightmares

September 14, 2011

NightmaresI’m sure that there has been a time before where we went to bed hungry. We’ve seen children in books and movies who have experienced this when an angry parent would reprimand them and shout, “You shall have no supper, go to your room!”  Is this healthy for us, and can it cause nightmares?

There have been a lot of myths surrounding this, and I think it is about time to finally decide: Is this a myth or a fact? So far, a lot of studies have proven that although it is not inclined to give you nightmares, it is however, bad for us. This is especially true for people who are highly acidic. In the same light, sleeping with a full stomach makes you suffer indigestion. In general, however, nightmares are usually caused by emotional stress such as anxiety, fear and as well as real life trauma. What you eat or do not eat may add to the cause of the nightmare. Certain studies state that having a nightmare is our way of coping with the stress in our lives or anything that has happened to us for the day.

There are a lot of studies showing different results to the cause of it, and so far, no specific study has been done on whether sleeping hungry can cause it. What they do show though, is that sleeping hungry will likely make you wake up due to stomach grumblings. Or worse, an empty stomach may not make you sleep at all. It is advised that one should consume anything that is high in carbohydrates (milk, oatmeal, cheese) before going to sleep. These foods actually release serotonin and actually make you sleep better.

Sleeping hungry, on the other hand, will make you have a hard time in sleeping, which therefore adds to the stress and anxiety that you may already be feeling. In doing so, once you do get around to falling asleep, your mind has then already been stressed enough that it needs to relieve itself of its stress in the form a nightmare (which can also be referred to as night terrors). So with that being said, it is highly unlikely that the root cause of nightmares is an empty stomach.

To sum it all up, nightmares are already there waiting to happen in the form of a person’s level of stress, anxiety and personal fears. What you consume or do not consume for that matter, are not really main factors in this problem. Though there have been studies that reveal that certain types of food does help you sleep, it’s still unclear whether a satisfied stomach can prevent nightmares. I guess that, in the end, more studies shall need to be done especially when more and more people start to ask and ponder as to whether it is true or not.