Sick In the Morning? It May Be From Eating

Updated

Feeling nauseous in the morning can be the result of many different things. However, I’ve found it to be most common depending on what I’ve eaten the night before. When you wake up vomiting in the morning, it may be the result of poor eating.

A poor diet can cause a host of problems, and you’ll have to do a bit of digging to discover which is causing your issues.

Why You Get Sick in the Morning

Eating poorly does more than just stack on the pounds. It can cause indigestion, which can show itself in a myriad of ways. Gas, diarrhea and even an upset stomach in the morning is often the result of something you ate before going to bed.

For many of us, a poor diet can lead to waking up with nausea in the middle of the night. I know plenty of times where my dinner came back in a bad way waking me up from a dead sleep at one in the morning.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to narrow down exactly what will cause vomiting in the morning. This is because everyone’s physiology is different.

However, here are some of the more common things that affect how you feel the next day.




Too Many Sweets

Adding a bit of sugar to your daily routine can provide some great benefits. It’s when you over-indulge when it can cause problems. And I’m not just talking about gaining weight. 1

Some people have a lower tolerance for sugar than others. This can lead to a lot of different problems, including how you feel the next morning. 2

In reality, overloading your system with sugar the night before can easily prompt vomiting in the morning.

Eating Too Much Right Before Bed

It can take anywhere from four to five hours to empty your stomach of contents. During that time, your body is excreting acid to break down those edibles. 3

It also takes longer to digest foods when lying down. In fact, it can take more than 100% longer to digest food if you immediately go to bed after eating. 4

The entire process can lead to anything from indigestion throughout the night to feeling nauseous in the morning. This is why a lot of experts tell you to give the body time to digest food before lying down to sleep.

Overeating in General

Overeating does more than just lead to obesity. It can also cause problems in the digestive tract. And depending on the kinds of foods you gorge on, it’s common to feel sick in the morning.

For me, overeating can cause everything from vomiting in the morning to serious bouts of diarrhea.

If you think this might be your issue, there are several methods to avoid overeating. You may find yourself generally feeling better both physically and mentally. 5

Personally, I monitor my intake using tools like MyFitnessPal and tracking what I eat. It prevents me from accidental overeating while keeping me on track to lose weight.

Food Allergies

Morning ProteinsAn often overlooked cause of not feeling well the next day is a food allergy. And because it can take you twice as long to digest food when sleeping, you probably won’t know you have a problem until early morning.

Food allergies can range in severity from simple tingling sensations to vomiting in the morning. And in more serious cases, you can be hospitalized thanks to anaphylaxis. 6

One of the worst parts of food allergies is that you can develop one without warning. For instance, People who were once able to enjoy peanuts sometimes develop severe allergies to them later in life.

This is another reason why I like recording food data in MyFitnessPal. If you suspect a food allergy, it’s easy to go back and see what you ate to prompt you to feel bad.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning from something you ate before bed can easily cause nausea in the morning. This is another that has varying degrees of severity, though. And in some cases, it all depends on your tolerance for certain complications.

For example, some people seemingly don’t have a problem with poorly cooked chicken while others will vomit violently.

If you suffer from food poisoning symptoms, it may be a good idea to seek your physician. It could lead to far more serious health issues. 7

Yet, another reason why it’s helpful to track what you eat.

Drawbacks to Eating too Late

Eating before bed has a lot of drawbacks outside of being nauseous in the morning. It can lead to a variety of things that could make for a sleepless night.

And sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of other complications that could compound your current problem.

Some of the more common drawbacks to eating late at night include:

  • Overactive or Odd Dreams
    The foods you eat can inspire some vivid and disturbing imagery in dreams. Some of these could become nightmares which decrease the likelihood of feeling rested the next day.
  • Heartburn
    A lot of people suffer through heartburn depending on the type or amount of food eaten late at night. I know I have problems with certain foods, such as pizza, if I eat them inside of an hour before bedtime.
  • Digestive Issues
    Nausea is only one side effect of eating at night. You could also suffer from gas and other digestive problems. And remember, laying down only makes digestion take longer. This could prolong intestinal problems.
  • Memory Issues
    Some studies suggest eating late at night can lead to various memory complications. Although many of these studies were conducted on mice, the evidence points to short and long-term memory reduction. 8

Weight gain may also be a problem for late eaters. However, studies show how gaining weight at night is more related to the quality of food. This means you don’t necessarily gain weight if eating past 8 pm. 9




How to Avoid Feeling Sick in the Morning from Food

When eating late at night makes you feel sick, first, you need to figure out if it was the food itself or some other underlying cause.

Like I mentioned a couple of times earlier, I’ll use the MyFitnessPal food tracking app to keep an eye on everything I eat. If I feel terrible the next day, I can find out if it’s a certain type of food or the number of calories.

However, here are some ways you can reduce the chance of feeling sick in the morning from eating.

1. Give Your Body a Chance to Digest Food

Because of how long it takes the body to digest food, it’s good to eat dinner two to four hours before going to bed. So if bedtime is at 9:30 pm, you would want to eat no later than 7:30 pm.

Also, keep in mind that more dense foods will take longer to digest. For example, a can of soup will pass through your system much faster than a six-ounce steak. Not to mention that proteins take longer to digest than many other food types. 10

If you give the body enough time to break down meals, it reduces the likelihood of vomiting in the morning. If the stomach is empty, there’s nothing to come up. And if you’re dry-heaving in the morning, you need to seek a physician.

2. Pick Better Snacks at Night

If you do need to snack at night, pick something lighter than high-density sugars. Things like fruits, vegetables and even trail mix are better alternatives to chocolate bars, cake and ice cream.

Probably one of the best ways to fill your stomach at night is to drink more water. Too many people walk around on the side of dehydration without realizing it, anyway.

I know that bowl of cereal looks tempting, but your body might be telling you something different.

3. Identify Problematic Foods

Keeping an eye on what you eat is greatly beneficial for finding problematic foods. If you feel sick in the morning on some days but not others, you can take a quick look to see if there is a common element at night.

What is causing vomiting in the morning? How much of certain foods are you consuming throughout the day? Answering questions like these can help find foods that are affecting you in a negative way.

You may be developing an allergy or other sensitivity to certain types of food.

4. Stick to Proper Portion Sizes when Eating

The best way to avoid overeating without putting yourself on an all-out diet is by monitoring proper portion sizes. It’s not always what you eat, but how much.

A lot of people will eat more than is necessary purely by accident. They don’t realize how easy it is to eat way too much. And this is especially true if you frequent fast-food places.

That meal deal that is “cheap” is often more expensive in terms of your overall health. In fact, many meal deals are providing two to three times the number of calories you should be eating.

In reality, curtailing my portion sizes has done everything from preventing vomiting in the morning to losing weight.

What If Feeling Sick Doesn’t Go Away?

Fast Food Taco BellFor some of you, the feeling of being sick in the morning may not cure itself in one day. Since there are so many different causes, it’s very difficult to say for certain what you suffer from.

If you’re still getting sick if you eat before bed, you may want to consider talking to a physician.

Also, things like sleep apnea can cause you to feel restless and nauseous in the morning. And this is more of a common condition than you think. 11

I only bring this up because some experts believe this can be the cause of feeling sick in the morning as well. You may want to consider this a possibility if the sick feeling doesn’t go away.

Keep Troubleshooting Your Experience

Unfortunately, there are just too many things at play to determine what exactly is causing you to feel sick in the morning. Viruses, bacterial infections, lack of sleep and even the air quality within the home can cause vomiting in the morning.

If you’ve eliminated food as a possibility, you’ll have to look closely at your health. There could be much more at work than just eating poorly the night before.

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Sources

  1. SFGate – https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/importance-sugar-human-body-4424.html
  2. Bustle – https://www.bustle.com/p/11-weird-signs-your-body-might-not-tolerate-sugar-well-63401
  3. Colorado State University – http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/basics/transit.html
  4. Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-while-standing-up#section1
  5. U of M Health – https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/digestive-health/4-ways-to-stop-digestive-discomfort-after-a-supersized-meal
  6. Mayo Clinic – https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/digestive-health/4-ways-to-stop-digestive-discomfort-after-a-supersized-meal
  7. CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/symptoms.html
  8. Medical Daily – https://www.medicaldaily.com/midnight-snacks-may-lead-memory-problems-how-eating-wrong-time-impacts-brain-367666
  9. Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-at-night#circadian-rhythm
  10. SFGate – https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-longer-digest-others-11622.html
  11. NHLBI – http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea

Michael Brockbank

Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.

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