When model and entrepreneur Kate Bock spilled her nighttime routine in mbg’s series The Wind Down, she shared that her keys to quality sleep include exercising during the day, going to bed early, and aiming to eat an early dinner. For the nights when an early meal isn’t possible, Bock opts to eat vegan instead.

Why avoid meat late at night, you ask? We were curious too, so we asked functional medicine expert Stacie Stephenson, D.C., CNS, about it. And according to her, large high-fat meals before bed (like a steak dinner, for instance), “can divert energy from healing to digestion and can overfill the stomach just before you lie down.”

And this, she adds, can cause discomfort, acid reflux, and/or heartburn, “which can greatly compromise sleep duration and quality.” This will be especially disturbing to sleep on the nights when you need to eat a late meal.

According to a 2019 study published in the journal Aging and Disease1, researchers found that for every additional 100 grams (roughly one serving) of meat that people ages 60+ ate per day, there was a 60% higher risk for poor sleep quality. The study also found that of the 1,341 people surveyed, those who ate the most meat slept for significantly less time than those who ate the least meat. Higher meat consumption was also associated with more snoring.

And this isn’t just red meat: The study authors note that “results were in the same direction for red and processed meat and for white meat separately.”