Some of my friends with preschool and early-elementary children routinely give their children a snack shortly before bed to help them sleep better. On the other hand, we have generally limited post-dinner eating to a light snack or dessert. We don't particularly notice a problem with our children being too hungry to sleep. (Although they do seem particularly hungry in the morning.)

It occurs to me that some children could be genetically predisposed to needing a full stomach in order to sleep. But it seems more likely that bedtime snack has become a ritual needed that helps relax a child. Some families brush teeth, read a story, or turn on music while others eat some cheese and crackers.

Is there any evidence that food helps children fall asleep and stay asleep?

1 Answer 1


I'm a healthcare provider (holistic healing, per se). I advise not to eat just before you go to bed! In fact, your last meal and your hitting sack should have at least the gap of two hours for better digestion.

In a layperson's language, while the body is asleep, all the systems calm down and undergo maintenance. Allotting a work to any system during this maintenance period is bothering them at unwanted time (Imagine your boss asking for a work at 2 AM!).

Munching just before sleeping may grow up as a habit which will be then difficult to get rid of. Yes, having a little fat-free milk (with no cream) before going to bed is okay as milk (compared to (oily?) snacks) is nutritious and easy on stomach.

As far as having a sleep is concern, it depends on various factors. If your kid has done a lot of activities (for instance playing, jumping, working hard), it's obvious that they'll fall asleep very soon. On the other hand, if the day is leisure time and no work is done, it's quite likely that the kid won't feel sleepy until late in the night.

If a kid has a habit of sleeping early, there's no problem and you don't need to work hard for it. Remember, anything that comes natural is the best thing and will last long without creating any problem or habit. Any aid to bring sleep will ultimately become habit and in coming years may turn big.

  • Nice answer. Milk, however, is not always easy on the stomach and some may need to seek other alternatives, as I am sure you know. ** Outside of the holistic realm, I have heard from various Dr's about the 2hr "rule", too. Apr 5, 2014 at 3:03
  • @JeremyMiller Thank you for your remarks. Uhmmm.. it's Maulik... just to make you aware! :)
    – Maulik V
    Apr 5, 2014 at 7:24
  • I see how you could mis-read what I wrote, but I was talking about milk, the drink, not addressing you. :) Apr 5, 2014 at 15:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .