Women, listen up! This specifically pertains to you. Though I'm sure the same thing is true for men. But the study I'm referencing for this post was conducted on women. The recent study, which was conducted by the American Heart Association in 2019, looked at a group of women to see what effect eating later in the evening had on their cardiovascular health.
The study concluded that eating the majority of one's calories closer to bedtime had a negative impact on heart health. Women who ate the majority of their calories from larger meals in the evening and late night snacking showed an increase of blood pressure, poorer blood sugar control and higher body mass index. All of these things contribute to poorer heart health.
Intermittent fasting has gained a high popularity boost recently. A lot of people have seen so many benefits from it. I actually believe that starting your eating window earlier in the day is more beneficial than ending your meals or snacks closer to bedtime. This study supports my thoughts about this. Standard intermittent fasting protocols suggest an eating window of 12:00-8:00pm. Ending my feeding window at 8:00pm is not good for my sleep. I prefer to stop eating at least by 6:00pm, if not sooner (no shame in being part of the senior supper club even in my mid-30s!).
I've never been a fan of eating late, whether it's a full meal or just a late night snack. It's always had a negative impact on my sleep. Ultimately you'll know what works best for you through trial and error. But for me, eating close to bedtime has never been beneficial.
If you're concerned about the information in the study, it's best to forego larger meals in the evening. Sure, you can still eat dinner. But keep it light. There's a saying that goes something like, "For breakfast, eat like a king. For lunch eat like a prince. And for dinner eat like a pauper." I guess you can eat like a queen or a princess. But either way, you get the point. Consume the majority of your calories earlier in the day and end your day with a lighter meal. Don't consume late night snacks if you can help it. Drink some water or herbal tea before bed instead...but not too close to bedtime if you don't want to wake up to pee in the middle of the night.
Schedules can be crazy, and social life may not be conducive to skipping later meals or late night snacks. But if you can control it, then I suggest finishing up your final meal at least three hours before you plan to go to bed. If you know that you experience blood sugar dips late at night, make sure you consume enough unrefined carbs in your last meal of the day.