Its 21st century, and almost everyone is health and self conscious. Everyone knows what is healthy and unhealthy to eat. But ever spared a thought on when is the right time of the day to eat?

We all focus on the right nutrition and are decisive about what and how much to eat in order to stay fit. Seldom do we think on when should one have a meal. Well, it turns out, ancient Indian thinkers have established a whole science behind the right time to eat in order to benefit psychologically, physiologically and spiritually.

Jainism, one of the oldest school of Indian philosophy has researched tremendously on food. Not only it stops at listing out and reasoning what to eat but also suggests when to eat. It proposes an habit of ‘Ratri-Bhojan-Tyag’ or abstinence of eating food anytime at night post sunset and before sunrise. The reasoning so strong that every Indian religion subscribes to this thought. Till date, a large number of Jains and Yogis strictly abide by this rule.

The ideal time to have the last meal of the day is before the sunsets.

One should never indulge in violence, should never be dishonest or speak lies and should never steal or even will to steal. These are the fundamental basic values of our culture. Just like that, is the fundamental basic value of ‘Ratribhojantyag’ ( Ratri = Night , Bhojan = Dinner , Tyag = Sacrifice ) or sacrificing/abandoning the habit/routine of having dinner post sunset. Ratribhojantyag means refraining from consuming any food substance or liquid after sunset till the Dawn of the next day.

Our culture is inherently, completely scientific – is something which even the renowned scientists of the world agree to. Why should one sacrifice having meals post sunset? Here are the reasons why.


  1. The science of Yoga and consuming dinner before sunset. 

After evening, the organs in our digestive system functions only at 20% efficiency rate compared to normal. Hence even if light food is consumed after sunset, it proves to be difficult for the digestive system to digest that.

Ajirnprabhaava Rogahaah‘ – the root of any disease is dyspepsia or apepsia which in simple words is an upset stomach. Various kinds of diseases can enter ones body through an upset stomach. Contemporary Yoga trainers also oppose consuming any liquid after sunset. 

In a Sanskrit Text namely Neetivaakyamrutm, there is an excellent collection of principles which should be governing ones life. In this Sanskrit text there is this life principle quoted – 

 “Bhuktvo Vyayamvyavaayo sadhyo vyaaptokaaranam

To rest or laze around after having food, has devastating effects on the health. Meaning, if there is not a considerable long gap between consuming food then it harms our health. The ones consuming food after sunset violate this principle and as a result invite a host of illnesses in their body. 

  1. Causation of Diabetes and having dinner post sunset

Our saliva doesn’t dilute well with the food which we consume at night. Hence the Saliva doesn’t mix well with the food morsels and dilute the sugary substance within the food. This increases the chances of getting Diabetes. In present day lifestyle, as and how late night dinners have increased, so have increased simultaneously the patients of diabetes.

In a 2017 study, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that eating late at night raises glucose and insulin levels, both of which are causes of type 2 diabetes.

Due to having dinner post sunset, the digestion process of enzymes doesn’t remain active. Due to which the glycogen present in our food doesn’t turn into glucose. Sufficient amount of saliva is secreted when One consumes food at day time. Even the Tairolin Amino Acid is present in the food at that time. The food is digested properly when all the digestive juices and mix well with the food and breaks the food to digestible chunks. This reduces the possibility of getting diabetes. 

Due to having dinner post sunset, the hydrochloric acid in our body increases and this leads to acidity. 

  1. Fitness and having dinner before sunset

When one doesn’t consume anything at night and keeps the stomach empty,  then this leads to our intestines cleansing itself better and at a faster rate. The body doesn’t become weak when One doesn’t consume food at night, rather it freshens up and becomes more energetic. By not having dinner post sunset, our body still functions and becomes more active and smooth. This leads to a healthy and long life ahead.

When one skips having dinner post sunset, the phenacites and lymphocytes molecules in our blood starts aging considerably. This leads to our immune system strengthening manifold. Having dinner before sunset can also instil the habit of sleeping early and waking up early. This gives complete rest to our mind. The pulse rate remains stable and calm. The liver is circulated with sufficient blood. One gets rid of mental stress.

  1. Medical science and harms of having dinner post sunset

Lecturer of Mumbai administered college, Dr. Yuvraj Bhonsle informs on this subject that 

As time passes, the people who have the habit of having their dinner late at night develop diseases like Gastrointestinal Oesophageal Reflex Disease (GERD). Due to these diseases one gets heartburn and a burning sensation behind their chest bone. Even the Oesophagus swells up due to this. 

“The biological clock of our body is set according to the rising and setting of the sun. When the sun is flaring it’s heat in afternoon, the digestive heat in our belly is also at its peak. In short, one can have heavy meals in the afternoon. Hence, on this logic, science says that one must have their dinner at least 2-3 hours before sleeping so that their food can be digested properly before they lie down. 

Above the stomach is Oesophagus and below it is the small intestine. When one sleeps or lies down right after having the digestive acid in our stomach seeps in the Oesophagus or the intestine and cause harm to it. The trend of having dinner late at night is at an increase and so is oesophageal Cancer in people. 

  1. Heart disease and it’s relation with having dinner post sunset

A renowned doctor from Ahmadabad, Doctor V. N. Shah is researching on the diseases which one get during their day to day lifestyle. He says

“Most of the heart attack cases have been observed to occur during evening or early in the morning. Which signifies that the attack came after having dinner late at night. There might be many reasons at the core of it but one reason is surely there, which is the gas which got produced due to indigestion and gushed towards the attack. A research done in Hong Kong and China also proves that the ones who habitually have their dinner early in evening have lesser chances of getting heart attack.

At late night party’s usually those food items are served which are difficult for the stomach to digest. When one consumes cake, one consumes 500 calories. When one consumes pizza, one consumes 800 calories. At night, no such activity is done which can burn these extra excess of calories. This leads to heart attacks, diabetes and problems like high blood pressure. 


  1. The science of sleep and consuming dinner before sunset.

It is obvious that when the stomach is completely full and the digestion process has just begun, then sleep is not bound to come. And if sleep is purposely induced at that time then the whole digestive system will get disturbed which in turn becomes an invitation for various diseases. To save oneself from it if one stays awake till late at night then even that is set to upset the stomach and invite diseases.

To sleep late at night and then wake up late in morning is also something which is against the sleep cycle of our body. The deep sleep between hours 21:00 to 01:00 is very crucial for the body which cannot be compensated by mornings sleep. Hence it is said “Early to bed and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise!”

Eating late at night can also raise your cholesterol and triglycerides, which are types of fat in your blood that can increase your risk of heart disease. If a lifestyle change is not made once diabetes develops, this could lead to other health problems such as kidney disease, heart disease, and blindness.

Scientists have long known that the human body has a master clock in the brain, located in the hypothalamus, that governs our sleep-wake cycles in response to bright light exposure. A couple of decades ago, researchers discovered that there is not just one clock in the body but a collection of them. Every organ has an internal clock that governs its daily cycle of activity.

  1. The science of sun cycle and having dinner before sunset.

Oxygen plays a vital role in the digestion of our food. Sunlight – daylight has the potential to give our body oxygen to its full extent. Sunlight has ultraviolet rays and infrared rays which destroys all the harmful microorganisms and keep the air and environment our from it. So when we have our meals when during the sprawl of day light, even our immune system gets boosted up. 

At night due to absence of sunlight, hormones gets depleted in our blood. Consequently, this reduces the vitality and energy in the operation of our physical and mental activities. It makes our physical and cognitive actives less efficient. This in turn leads to depletion in efficiency of functioning of our organs. Our digestive process then demands more time. And due to sufficient blood not reaching our brain, it can become prey to some of the serious illnesses.

Due to digestion not happening properly, the gas elevates upwards our body and increases the possibility of problems like painful Ulcers. The pregnant women who abstain themselves from sunlight and consume meals post sunset have children who are not completely healthy and fine. 

  1. Nature and having dinner before sunset

Having dinner post sunset is an act which is against nature and its cycle. The rule of nature is to  consume food during day time and work hard and toil during time and then sleep and rest during night time.  If contrary this law of nature is done, like if one sleeps during day time and stays awake during night time, then this can cause a lot of illnesses.

This has been proven and accepted by the Science of Ayurveda and modern science. The same law of nature applies to our eating habits as well. When one observes nature, one finds that the higher order life forms like birds, cows, etc do not have food post sunset. Birds eat during day time, and then return back to their nests right before sunset, is something which we notice daily. It is our  culture that the cowherd takes his cattle to graze during day time and returns back during night time.

“We’ve inhabited this planet for thousands of years, and while many things have changed, there has always been one constant: Every single day the sun rises and at night it falls,” Dr. Panda says, the author of the book ‘The Circadian Code’.

  1. Family life and having dinner before sunset

When one dines late at night then even other household chores like washing dishes get postponed because of that. Sometimes this prolonged period of doing household chores becomes stressful and eventually becomes the cause of fights at home between family members.

  1. Ayurveda and having dinner before sunset

In Ayurveda, our digestive organs are metaphorically compared to the lotus flower. As the sun rises so does the digestive efficiency in our digestive organs rises like the lotus flower blooms. And as and how the sunsets, so does the digestive capability of our digestive organs decreases. The food which goes inside the digestive organs which have their digestive efficiency decreased, that food doesn’t digest properly. This undigested food then either becomes an unhealthy part of the organs or gets stuck in the intestines. That’s why it is said in Ayurveda!

After sunset the digestive organs loose their efficiency and hence one must not have food after sunset. At night, even micro-organisms mix into the food, hence one must avoid having dinner post sunset. 

  1. Modern Science and having dinner post sunset

There is a principle in science ‘where there is darkness there are germs’. This proves that there are more number of germs at night time. Hence there is a risk associated while eating or drinking at night. No artificial man made light can replace sunlight. Rather when at night light is switched on, it attracts more number of germs.

Many times even bigger insects enter our stomach and people face problems right from vomiting to undergoing surgical operations. To prevent insects entering our stomach through food, there is only one practical way which is to have dinner before sunset in daylight. As prevention is better than cure. Many doctors abroad prefer doing Operations during day time only because of the reason that at night time there are more number of micro organisms in air. 


  1. Vedic science on having dinner before sunset.

The Vedas prohibit Ratri Bhojan. It specifies – 

देवस्तु भत्कं पूर्वाहणे , मध्याह्ने ऋषिभिस्तथा। अपराह्णे तु पितृभिः सायं भुज्जन्ति दानवा।। 

सन्ध्यायां यक्षरक्षोभि : सदा भुक कुलोदृह !। । सर्ववेलां व्यतिक्रम्य , रात्रौ भुकमभोजनम् ।।

– Yajurveda

It means Gods have food in the morning, saints in the noon, sages in the afternoon and Evils in the evening. Food consumed after evening is counted as Abhojan = Bad Food.

  1. Puranas and ratri bhojan

Many puranas out of 18 advise strongly to avoid ratri bhojan.

Padmapurana says –

चत्वारो नरकद्वारा प्रथमं रात्रिभोजनम्। परस्त्रीगमन चैव, सन्धानानन्तकायिके।।

There are four doors to Hell. 1) Ratri bhojan 2) Vyabhichar 3) Bokhathanu 4) Kandmul Bhakshan

Markandpurana says – अस्तंगते दिवानाथे, आपो रुधिरमुच्य अन्नं मांसमं प्रोच्क मार्कंडेयमहर्षिणा । ।

Drinking water and eating food after sunset is equal to drinking blood and eating meat respectively. 

नोदकमपि पातव्यं, रात्रावत्र युधिष्ठिर! । तपस्विना विशेषेण गृहिणा ‘ च विवेकिना।।

Oh! Yudhishtira we shouldn’t even drink water after sunset.

Skandapurana says –

एकभत्त्काशनान्नित्य – मग्रिहोत्रफलं लभेत्। अनेस्तभोजनो नित्यं, तीर्थयात्राफलं लभेत्।।

The person eating only one time in a day gets the goodwill of an AGNIHOTRA. a person gets the oodwill of travelling to a temple if he doesn’t eat at night.

त्वया सर्वमिदं व्याप्तं, ध्येयोऽसि जगतां रवे!।

त्वयि चास्तमिते देव! आपो रुधिरमुच्यते।।

Oh Lord Sun! People worship you. Water is said to be blood after you set.

  1. Yogavyashishtha on ratri bhojan

नल्कं न भोजयेद्यस्तु, चातुर्मास्ये विशेषत। सर्वकामानवाप्नोति इहलोके परत्र च ।। १०८।। पूर्वार्ध 

Person, not having food at night (specially during monsoon), such person’s all wishes get fulfilled.

  1. Mahabharat on Ratri Bhojan

रक्तीभवन्ति तोयानि अन्ननि पिशितान्यपि। रात्रौ भोजनसन्कस्य ग्रासे तन् मांसक्षमणम्।

eating and drinking water at night is and parallel to eating me and drinking blood respectively.

योग शास्त्र says-

अलूककाकमार्जार – गृध्रशम्बरशूकरा। अहिवृश्र्चिकगोधाश्र्च , जायन्ते रात्रि भोजनात्।।

  1. Lord Mahaveer on Ratri Bhojan

Jain Aagam‘s have strictly prohibited Ratri Bhojan.

एं च दोसं दट्टणं , नायपूत्तेण भाषियों। सव्वाहारं न भुंजंति , नित्म्म निग्गंथा राइभोयणं।।

Lord Mahaveer had looked this sins and said that we shouldn’t take even sounf after sunset. Our saints (Sadhu and Sadhvi) obey his words and don’t drink a single drop of water after the sunset in the summer season too. People strictly following Jainism also follow this rule. Ahimsa is the base of all religions. Jainism prohibits ratri bhojan to follow this law of ahimsa. There are 22 Abhaksha in Jainism. Out of these the 14th one is ratri bhojan.

  1. Gautam Buddha and Ratri Bhojan

Tripitaka is a popular Buddhist Text. It is written in the Pali language

रतिं विकालभोजनं पयहेत्था।

It means stop Ratri Bhojan.


We have to eat for living and not live for eating. food is just a support of our body. Intake of bad food and at wrong time on the contrary becomes destroyer rather than being a supporter. If we do this, we cannot live a long life. So “If you wanna stay healthy and fit, you gotta know When to eat!! Animals spend most of their life in search of food. Humans are different to them. We shouldn’t be like them.

Scientifically or from a religious point of view, Ratri Bhojan is prohibited. Thing/food which is injurious for others is also injurious for us. Our happiness lies in others happiness – this is evitable in today’s scientific and fast world. People leaving Ratri Bhojan with the intention of saving the life of other organisms, saves one’s own self also. Lakhs of Jains and Yogis are living testimony of how abstaining late night dinner after sunset is the most practical thing.