Effects of dinner timing on sleep stage distribution and eeg power spectrum in healthy volunteers

Daisy Duan, Chenjuan Gu, Vsevolod Y. Polotsky, Jonathan C. Jun, Luu V. Pham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Eating time and sleep habits are important modifiable behaviors that affect metabolic health, but the relationship between food intake and sleep remains incompletely understood. Observational data suggest that late food intake is associated with impaired sleep quality. We examined the effect of routine dinner (RD, 5 hours before bedtime) vs late dinner (LD, 1 hour before bedtime) on sleep architecture in healthy volunteers. Participants and Methods: This was a post hoc analysis of a randomized crossover study of RD vs LD with a fixed sleep opportunity in a laboratory setting. On each of the two visits, 20 healthy adult volunteers (10 women) received an isocaloric meal followed by overnight polysomnography. Sleep architecture over the course of the night was assessed using visual sleep staging and EEG spectral power analysis and was compared between RD and LD. We modeled the proportions of spectral power in alpha, beta, delta, and theta bands as functions of dinner timing, time of night, and their interaction with mixed-effect spline regression. Results: Conventional sleep stages were similar between the 2 visits. LD caused a 2.5% initial increase in delta power and a reciprocal 2.7% decrease in combined alpha and beta power (p<0.0001). These effects diminished as sleep continued with a reversal of these patterns in the latter part of the night. Conclusion: Contrary to the existing literature, shifting dinner timing from 5 hours before sleep to 1 hour before sleep in healthy volunteers did not result in significant adverse changes in overnight sleep architecture. In fact, LD was associated with deeper sleep in the beginning of the night and lighter sleep in the latter part of the night in healthy volunteers. This novel manifestation of postprandial hypersomnia may have therapeutic potential in patients with sleep disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-612
Number of pages12
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
StatePublished - 2021


  • Dinner timing
  • EEG spectral power
  • Late eating
  • Sleep architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology


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