I have read many times that eating before bed is bad because your metabolism slows down when you sleep, so the calories from the food you ate will not be burned and you will gain weight.
So, how long should I be waiting after I eat to go to bed? I usually find myself going to bed about 2 1/2 hours after I eat my snack, which is usually a banana and about two spoonfulls of dry cereal. Sometimes it's strawberries, or pineapple--always fruit, so it's not like I'm eating any junk.
Do you think that 2 1/2 hours is a long enough wait?
If you try to increase the gap between last meal and bedtime you are probably going to do more harm than good. I am sure you have heard all the "new" theories about eating more small meals during the day instead of 3 large meals. First off, the 3 meal-a-day routine is new, and promoted by the American food industry. The reason you should eat more often is because it actually regulates your metabolism more effectively. Eating regularly keeps your body from reverting to "starvation mode." When you go long periods of time without eating, your body assumes it will not be fed again soon. Therefore, the next time you eat, it stores as much of the food as possible as fat.
So here's the point. If you are sleeping for 8 hours, then you are already going a long period without any nutrition. If you don't eat a couple hours before bed, you've increased that to 10 hours! Once you eat breakfast...KAPOW, you are gonna store a lot of that food as fat. If you add to that the crappy carbohydrate filled junk most Americans eat for breakfast (cereal, breakfast bars, etc.) you are almost asking to get fat.
Tip: eat a slow digesting protein (cottage cheese, casein protein blend) before bed with some fruit/veggies perhaps. It will keep your body out of starvation mode and into calorie burning mode. Don't eat cereal...ever, most are horrible for you.
Eating before bed is not a good idea. You already answered your own question. However, should you feel hungry try to drink some water to fill the void and take away the craving. The time between the last meal and bed time should be 2-3 hours. This allows for proper digestion and minimal chance of weight gain.
The Mayo Clinic has posted studies proving that there is a myth to "eating before bed". Their studies prove that the time of day is not important to the human body for the production of fat. Eating before bed can actually calm the mind and produce a more restful slumber. They have shown that the consumption of food, as it applies to weight gain and general health, is based on quantity, quality and balance of the products ingested with no correlation to the actual time of day
You need to eat to be healthy. If you are starving your body of calories, then it will slow down on its own and try to turn EVERY calorie into fat. So, please if you need to eat before bed to feed your healthy body then please do so. Just brush your teeth and floss.