Why You Should Never Eat in Bed

Tray sitting on the end of a bed with a croissant, plum, bowl of cantaloupe, and glass of orange juice

JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

There's something wonderfully cozy about eating in bed, especially with a good show on Netflix and a partner to cuddle with. For some urban dwellers, it may be something of a necessity -- a peaceful escape from conversation with roommates or the only place to sprawl out in a cramped apartment. Eating in bed, however, is not the harmless activity it appears to be. There are a few reasons why you might want to rethink this habit.

Bugs Should Be the Biggest Concern

Where there is food -- or even just traces of it -- bugs will come. As Paul Bello, a professional pest exterminator, told the Huffington Post a few years ago, cockroaches don't need much food to survive, and it might not be only roaches you tempt with your bedside snacking; different kinds of insects are attracted to different kinds of food. From the Huffington Post article:

"Sweet foods such as soda, fruit juices, cupcakes and cookies with icing could attract ants and certain flies, including house flies, blue bottle flies and green bottle flies. Leftover foods, such as milk from a bowl of cereal, pizza sitting in the box or hamburgers and chicken left out in the takeout container, can attract ants, flies and even cockroaches."

If the habit is unshakeable, then be sure to wash your sheets frequently. Once per week is recommended for non-bed-eaters, so up that to once every three days if food is in the vicinity. Vacuum meticulously, shake out rugs and blankets, and wash the floor regularly to get rid of any stickiness.

It's Bad for Your Health

Food & Wine reported that eating in bed is conducive to over-eating, since, presumably, you're watching TV or texting or reading, and not paying attention to what's going into your body. “Before you know it, you finished a bag of chips or ate two bagels and didn’t even realize it.”

Nor does it go down as smoothly as it should, according to psychologist Michael Brustein:

"From a digestive standpoint, lying down or eating when you’re not as erect does not promote peristalsis, and that could contribute to acid reflux, if you’re prone to that."

(In case you're wondering, the dictionary defines 'peristalsis' as "the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wavelike movements that push the contents of the canal forward.")

Not Eating in Bed Is Better for Your Sleep

Finally, the more non-bedtime-related activities that take place in your bed, the harder it is to associate the bed with a place of rest and repose. Who wants to undermine the ability of a bed to promote sleep after a long, stressful day at work? That sounds crazy!

The alternative is to eat meals at a table, ditch the late-night snacking altogether (your waistline will thank you), and cozy up for a movie, maybe with just a cup of herbal tea in hand. Or consider setting up a mini eating station inside your bedroom, like a chair and an end table, that contain the mess and give your meal a semblance of formality.