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Does Eating Oatmeal Before Bed Affect Your Sleep Quality?

You might be wondering, should I take oatmeal before bed? That depends on whether oatmeal promotes sleep or not.

The thing is, in a bid to fight insomnia, several drinks and foods are usually recommended. Why? Because they contain nutrients and antioxidants that may help you fall asleep quicker or sleep longer. 

Guess what? One of these foods is oatmeal.

Please keep reading to discover why consuming oat before bedtime is healthy.

Is Oatmeal Good to Eat Before Bed?

Most people prefer taking oatmeal for breakfast, but it can also be a fantastic snack in the evening. So, if you enjoy eating oats at night, you’re on the right path. 

Here are the primary health reasons to eat oatmeal before bedtime:

Slow Digestion

Oats contain carbohydrates that undergo slow digestion, so no more waking up with high blood sugar levels at night. Plus, oats are likely to keep you full for extended periods, which helps reduce hunger pangs at night.

Let’s face it: One of the main reasons for waking up at night is to open the fridge, eat something and head back to bed. Eating oatmeal before bed may help reduce or eliminate those trips to the fridge.

A Rich Source of Melatonin

Studies reveal that oats are a significant source of melatonin – the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep and wake cycle. Simply put, melatonin helps you feel sleepy. 

While our bodies produce melatonin naturally, the production tends to reduce as we age. So, consuming oatmeal is an effective way to compensate for this reduction.

Oats Contain Tryptophan

Oats have tryptophan – the amino acid that our brains convert to serotonin – a hormone that relaxes the body so you can fall asleep. Remember, the brain requires tryptophan to create serotonin. Thus, you need enough oats for a good night’s sleep.

Tryptophan is available in various sources, but studies reveal that the brain easily converts it into serotonin when we consume tryptophan through carbohydrate-rich foods. 

Oats are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, providing the sleep-inducing amino acid and helping our brains convert it. What’s more, oats contain vitamin B3, which may also enhance the conversion.

Oats Contain Vitamin B1

Stress plays a significant role in our sleep quality, and extended stress periods may lead to sleep disorders, such as insomnia. And insomnia affects 10% to 30% of the world population. 

Minimal stress helps us sleep well. Stress relief partly originates from the nervous system, so a robust nervous system comes in handy to help fight stress. Luckily, oats consist of vitamin B1 (Thiamin), which helps maintain a healthy nervous system

oatmeal before bed
oatmeal before bed

Frequently Asked Questions

Does oatmeal affect sleep?

Yes, it does. Oats contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin, which helps relax the body into falling asleep. Oatmeal also contains melatonin that helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and synchronize your sleep-wake cycle for consistent and sound sleep.

Is it OK to eat oatmeal before bed?

Absolutely! Like rice, oatmeal is rich in carbs with more fiber. It’s known to induce drowsiness, especially when you consume it before bedtime.

What are the disadvantages of eating oats?

If you quickly switch from consuming little fiber to eating tons of oats, bloating might occur, leading to stomach discomfort. Avoid bloating by starting small and gradually increasing the intake.

Second, oat consumption can encourage more sugar intake, as most people like keeping their oats sweet. More sugar means added calories and possibly weight gain. Instead of straight-up sugar, you may add a drop of stevia or a banana.

How long before bed should you eat oatmeal?


It’s vital to take oatmeal and other sleep-inducing foods 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to benefit from them. However, don’t eat your oat right before bedtime, as it might trigger stomach problems, such as acid reflux.

Final Word

While oat is a popular breakfast meal, you can still consume it after dark, as it can help you sleep better. However, remember to consume your oatmeal two to three hours before bedtime and only eat a small quantity. 

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