Studies have shown a link between short sleep duration and obesity, but few studies have researched food intake and sleep patterns. There is a research study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that analyzed the correlation between food intake and sleep patterns in healthy individuals. They studied 52 healthy, non-obese individuals ages 19 - 45 years old who were sedentary, not taking medications, non-smokers, and who spent regular times in bed at night.
Their food intake was determined by a self-report food diary for 3 consecutive days preceding a sleep study. The results showed that none of the 52 participants had any sleep disorders. Analysis of the data showed that food intake, mainly in the evening period, was correlated with several variables related to sleep patterns. More specifically, higher food intake close to bedtime was associated with decrease sleep quality, especially in women. Women took longer to fall asleep if they ate high fat and carbohydrate meals before sleeping. Also, eating a high fat meal close to bedtime decreased dream sleep. The authors speculated that a full stomach could make it more difficult to sleep.