You do NOT need to leave two hours between dinner and bedtime

You do NOT need to leave two hours between dinner and bedtime ‘because there are no discernible health benefits’

  • Avoiding eating a supper time meal is said to be better for long-term health
  • But there is no clear evidence behind the practice, according to researchers
  • Japanese scientists scrutinised health data from more than 1,500 adults
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Eating a late dinner is not as bad for you as thought, research suggests.

Dietitians recommend eating dinner at least two hours before bed, to allow blood sugar levels to settle.

But Japanese researchers found that in fact leaving this two-hour gap made no difference to long-term blood sugar levels.

Avoiding eating a supper time meal before going to bed has been understood to be better for long term health. But Japanese researchers have now debunked the claim

Experts from Okayama University tracked 1,573 healthy adults for three years, monitoring their mealtimes and sleep patterns and taking regular blood tests.

Most participants left at least two hours between dinner and going to bed – but 16 per cent of the men and 8 per cent of women left a smaller gap.

When the researchers analysed the blood results, they found the time people ate made no difference to their long-term blood sugar levels, known as HbA1c.

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Weight, blood pressure, exercise, smoking and drinking all had a greater impact on blood sugar than the time left between eating and sleeping.

The scientists, writing in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal, said: ‘Contrary to general belief, ensuring a short interval between the last meal of the day and bedtime did not significantly affect HbA1c levels.

‘More attention should be paid to healthy portions and food components, getting adequate sleep and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption and being overweight, as these variables had a more profound influence on the metabolic process.’


Diabetes is a serious life-long condition that occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly.

Patients have to regular monitor their glucose levels to prevent them from developing any potentially fatal complications.

Type 1 diabetes patients are often recommended to test their blood sugar at least four times a day. For type 2 patients, doctors advise to test twice a day.

Blood glucose levels should be between the ranges of 3.5–5.5mmol/L before meals and less than 8mmol/L, two hours after meals.

Diabetes patients have to regular monitor their glucose levels to prevent them from developing any potentially fatal complications

Hypoglycemia (when blood sugar drops below 4 mmol/L) can occasionally lead to patients falling into comas in severe cases.

However, it most often can be treated through eating or drinking 15-20g of fast acting carbohydrate, such 200ml of Lucozade Energy Original.

Sufferers can tell they are experiencing a hypo when they suddenly feel tired, have difficulty concentrating or feel dizzy.

Type 1 diabetes patients are more likely to experience a hypo, because of the medications they take, including insulin.

Hyperglycemia (when blood sugar is above 11.0 mmol/L two hours after a meal) can also have life-threatening complications.

It happens when the body either has too little insulin, seen in type 1, or it can’t use its supply properly, most often in type 2.

In the short-term, it can lead to conditions including ketoacidosis – which causes ketones to be released into the body. 

If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to long-term complications, such as impotence and amputations of limbs.

Regular exercise can help to lower blood sugar levels over time, and following a healthy diet and proper meal planning can also avoid dangerous spikes.  

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