It's commonly believed that eating shortly before bed can have a long-term detrimental impact on your wellbeing, leading to issues such as an increased risk of cancer.
However, researchers from the Graduate School of Health Sciences at Okayama University in Japan have seemingly debunked this claim, stating that leaving a two-gap between your last meal of the day and your bedtime is unlikely to affect your blood glucose levels.
In Japan, the public are advised to leave two hours in between dinner and bed at least three times a week.
For the study, which was published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, the researchers analysed data gathered between 2012 and 2014 from 1,573 healthy middle-aged and older adults from Okayama in western Japan.
None of the adults had any underlying health conditions related to diabetes, two thirds of the cohort were women, and the majority were over the age of 65.
The team assessed the group's eating regimes in addition to other lifestyle factors such as their weight, how fast they eat, how much physical activity they partake in and whether they smoke.
Over the course of the study the researchers also monitored the HbA1c levels of the participants, which indicates the blood glucose levels of individuals over a two- to three-month period.
A minority of the participants regularly went to bed within two hours of eating dinner.
While the average HbA1c levels of the cohort rose slightly throughout the study, increasing from 5.2 per cent in 2012 to 5.58 per cent in 2013 and 2014, the researchers concluded that leaving at least two hours between eating and going to bed had very little effect on the rise.
They found that other lifestyle factors such as blood pressure, physical activity and excessive drinking had a more significant impact on blood glucose levels.
While the researchers acknowledge that the study is solely observational, they believe that their findings demonstrate that more emphasis is needed on encouraging people to follow a balanced lifestyle rather than on urging people to leave a two-hour gap between their bedtime and their last meal of the day.
“Contrary to general belief, ensuring a short interval between the last meal of the day and bedtime did not significantly affect HbA1c levels," they state.
“More attention should be paid to healthy portions and food components, getting adequate sleep and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, and overweight, as these variables had a more profound influence on the metabolic process.”
More about: life