Question: Is It Bad to Eat Lying Down?

Do you love to lay in bed with snacks and a good book? Or maybe you enjoy coming home from work and sprawling out on the couch with a plate of supper while you watch TV. Regardless, you should never eat lying down. There’s several reasons from health to cleanliness, and we’ll go over all of them here.

Reasons Not to Eat While Lying Down

Most health professionals will tell you to not eat while lying down because it can cause a host of health problems for you. In this article we’ll go over a few of those health problems as well as the other issues that arise from reclining fully while enjoying a snack.

Pros and Cons to Eating While Lying Down

There’s really only one p to it, and unfortunately, for all of us, it’s one everybody is tempted with.

It’s comfortable.

If you’re already lying down, you don’t want to sit up to eat something and that’s a universal truth. After all, it doesn’t hurt anything to eat while lying down so why put in the effort, right?


The cons for eating while laying down range from minor discomfort and an upset stomach to more severe health issues. We’ll go over some of those further in the article. Just know that the only true pro is comfort, and you’ll need to decide if that’s worth it after reading this.

Is it Better to Eat Standing Up?

To be honest? It somewhat is, but also kind of isn’t. It isn’t directly bad for you, but it does tend to lead toward overeating. You feel like you have more room in your stomach and if you’re up and moving you’re actively burning energy as you go.

This makes you eat more because your body goes ‘hey we need more energy down here!’. It’s a vicious cycle. So for a short answer, it isn’t outright harmful but it isn’t great for you either. If you pay attention to how much you’re eating and the speed you devour it at, this won’t be an issue for you.

Though eating while standing isn’t my first choice, especially on a lunch break at work where I’ve already been on my feet all day.

You might want to check: Why Do I Get Sleepy After I Eat?

What Happens When You Eat While Lying Down?

There are quite a few things that can happen, but let’s look at what usually happens.

For one, you can make a mess. While most can be easy to clean, stains aren’t as easy to remove. Things like sauces, chip salt, oils, etc. can all ruin your upholstery.
Those aren’t massive things, but they are irritants. In the more serious aspects of what could happen, there are a host of health issues eating while lying down can bring. One of the most common ones is choking. You don’t have gravity on your side now and food gets caught in your throat easier.

The other health issues we’ll go into further detail below.

You might be interested: Is It Bad To Sleep After Eating?

Potential Health Issues from Eating While Laying Down

It’s possible to get everything from mild indigestion to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is as awful as it sounds. GERD is where your food comes back up into the oesophagus, resulting in everything from puking to mild discomfort.

How to Sleep Better with GERD and Acid Reflux

Doesn’t sound fun, does it?

Thankfully I never had any lasting health problems from my bad habit, only mild discomfort and stomach aches that have now disappeared thanks to my not lying down while eating. If you’re lying down eating and it’s common for you to have pain or even bile, then you may want to consider changing posture while eating.
You should consider it either way, but if it’s negatively affecting your health it’s even more important.

Does Reclining on an Arm or at an Angle Count?

Nope, people have eaten reclining for centuries and there doesn’t appear to be any lasting health effects. If you’re reclining too far you can, of course, have a higher risk of choking, but if you are wary of how far you recline that shouldn’t be an issue.

It’s common to see pictures of people being fed grapes in mythology or art while they’re leaning back on a pillow or bed. This is fine, it keeps your throat open, and your body supported, thus lowering the risk of choking and your chances of dealing with GERD.

This is, in my opinion, the closest we’re going to get to a compromise on this. Leaning back a bit gives you some of the comfort from lying down without the potential health pitfalls that come with it.

After learning all of this information, I’ve started eating while leaning back just a little and so far, I haven’t had any stomach aches like I used to.

If you still want your comfort while eating, this may be your best bet.

Is it Bad to Eat While Lying Down?

There are many health issues that can come from it, but as long as you’re aware of them and make the decision for yourself to ignore those risks, it’s entirely up to you. It’s your choice and you can make it how you see fit.

If you liked this information, want to leave a comment, or want to share feel free to do so below. Feedback is always welcomed, and I hope this article helped you make an informed decision. In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to the best reading pillows!

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