Hey guys! I was wondering, do you think eating late at night helps with your LDing or hinders it?
I can see two main lines of reasoning for either side
1. It may help lucid dreaming. Eating late at night is generally not recommended due to it causing poorer sleep quality, likely due to the fact that we're still digesting our food through the night. However, I can see this potentially being beneficial in the same way Daniel advises sleeping in an unfamiliar location/upside down in your bed, due to it keeping us slightly more alert as we sleep. I can see having to digest food doing the same thing, not allowing us to go into as deep sleep and maintaining some alertness as we sleep. There is some research, and a handful of anecdotal evidence, that eating late at night can cause more vivid dreams and/or nightmares, which may be due to the reasons I just mentioned. Also, I wonder if this might explain why we see so many reports that "X food causes vivid dreams/lucid dreaming" - maybe it's less about the food in question and more about the fact that they're eating something late at night?
2. It may hinder lucid dreaming. Due to its effect on our sleep quality, it may make our REM periods and sleep cycles less stable and thus harder to track. Also, it's likely to have more of an impact on our sleep early in the night as opposed to our latter sleep (during which NREM sleep is prioritised over REM sleep), so if it affects the quality of our NREM sleep, this may mean we need more NREM sleep in the second half of the night to compensate - as Daniel says, we compensate for NREM sleep like clockwork. This would likely make it harder to LD due to having less REM sleep in the second half of the night - though perhaps this could be easily remedied by eating during a WBTB? In addition to this, I feel like having slight hunger in the early morning hours may be more of a trigger for alertness than digesting food. If you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint, signals of hunger mean that we're at risk and we need to be alert and active to try and find food immediately - whereas signals of satiety would not have the same meaning to us.
I'm really at odds as both viewpoints seem to be equally convincing. I would love it if you guys could chime in and let me know your experiences with meal times and LDing. For my own personal experience, I've had 6 LDs in the past couple of weeks. I typically eat late at night, but my longest and most stable LDs occurred after a night where I didn't eat late, and I was very hungry that morning. However, I also slept through my natural awakening and woke up an hour or so later before I got lucid, so it's more likely to be because I was lucid later in the night rather than not eating the night before - although it may have had an indirect effect by improving my sleep quality so I stayed asleep for longer before waking up.