Why You Shouldn’t Lay Down After Overeating

Even the best of us have been victims of a food coma before.

Perhaps it was a fancy cocktail party and you kept grabbing hors d’oeuvres until suddenly you felt like you were about to rip out of your dress. Maybe you forgot to eat all day and then shoved your entire pantry into your face before realizing you ate way too much. Or maybe it was just Thanksgiving and you totally accepted the fact that you’d probs be keeled over on the couch with a food baby by 8 p.m.

Whatever caused your overeating, it’s likely that your idea of a solution is laying down across the couch (or your bed), maybe taking a nap, and occasionally asking yourself, “why did I eat so much?”

But, you shouldn’t lay down after overeating, because it can actually make you feel worse.

Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, DO, gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained to Cosmopolitan that you shouldn’t lay down until at least two or three hours after overeating. Oops.

Turns out, laying down can actually put more pressure on your stomach, which can cause stomach acid to rise in your esophagus and lead to heartburn. In fact, the best thing you can do after over eating is staying active, whether it means simply standing up and chatting or even taking a walk.

Dr. Ganjhu recommends taking a walk about 30 minutes after eating, because it will help your GI tract stay active with your body.

“Walking is the best thing to do after overeating because it stimulates GI mobility to help move food through your body faster,” explained Dr. Ganjhu to Cosmopolitan.

After 2-3 hours have passed, Dr. Ganjhu says it’s cool to finally plop down on the couch and watch Netflix to distract yourself from your food baby because most of the food has probably emptied from your stomach by now.

But, whatever you do, don’t be tempted to surrender to the couch too early. If nothing else, try to use staying upright as an excuse to actually help your mom in the kitchen after dinner for once, or at least to stay semi-social instead of crawling upstairs for a nap. Besides, walking around burns way more calories than laying down, so think of it as a way to feel better about the eight pounds of mashed potatoes you inhaled earlier.

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