Man stands in front of refrigerator trying to decide what to eat before bed.

Get Better Sleep by Avoiding These Types of Foods

Get Better Sleep by Avoiding These Types of Foods

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It seems like everyone struggles with getting enough sleep these days. Even if you do not have a sleep disorder, you do not need any more challenges to a good night’s rest. Practicing good sleep hygiene includes healthy nutrition and choosing your dinners and late-night snacks wisely.

So, what types of foods should be cut out of your nighttime routine? In general, you want to decrease your consumption of stimulants, foods that are difficult to digest, dishes with too much sugar or spice, and those which aggravate heartburn.

9 Types of Foods & Drinks to Avoid Before Bed

Here are nine types of food and drinks that you should avoid eating before getting tucked in for the night.

1. Alcohol

It may seem like a few beers, a couple of glasses of wine or a nightcap help you fall asleep. Yet, there are three solid reasons not to drink alcohol, especially in excess, before going to bed.

  • Alcohol probably does help you doze off, but it interrupts the natural sleep cycle later on during the night. This can decrease the amount of restorative REM sleep that you get.
  • Consuming alcohol relaxes all the muscles in the body which can exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea and loud snoring.
  • The esophageal sphincter is a muscle which is also affected by alcohol. When it relaxes, it tends to cause acid reflux.

2. Heavy Foods

Meals which seem to weigh on your stomach actually take longer to digest. Fatty, cheesy and fried foods can lead to indigestion and keep you up at night. Avoid things like cheeseburgers, fries, fried foods and large steaks late in the day.

3. Foods with High Water Content

Getting up to go to the bathroom can really disrupt your rest. Of course, drinking plenty of water is an important part of staying healthy, but you want to avoid getting a full bladder in the middle of the night. It is best to steer clear of foods with high water content, including nutritious ones. This includes celery, watermelon, and cucumbers.

4. Foods with Hidden Caffeine

Check the nutrition labels. Many foods have caffeine, even when you may not expect it. Tea and soda are usually caffeinated unless labeled otherwise. Plus, some ice creams and desserts have espresso, coffee, or chocolate. Chocolate other foods with caffeine act as stimulants. They make it more difficult to slip into the deeper stages of sleep and decrease the amount of REM sleep you would normally get.

5. Super Sugary Treats

Insulin yo-yos wreak havoc on sleep patterns. That is why you should avoid overly sugary snacks which can cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash. Sugary cereals, desserts, and candy are not good nighttime treats for this reason.

6. Tyramine-Rich Foods

To increase sleep quality, specialists recommend cutting out foods that have a high amount of tyramine later in the day. This amino acid causes the brain to release a natural stimulant that facilitates brain activity. This can make falling asleep more challenging. Foods that are rich in tyramine include tomatoes, soy sauce, eggplant, red wine and aged cheeses.

7. Spicy Foods

Anyone with heartburn knows that spicy dishes can lead to problems at night. Well, there is another reason to avoid them. Naturally, your body temperature should lower to facilitate sleep, however hot peppers can boost your body’s temperature. Feeling hot can actually make you lie awake for longer. If you love food with a kick, try eating it at breakfast or lunch, instead of dinner.

8. Acidic Foods

Another trigger for acid reflux is – no surprise – highly acidic food. Things like citrus juice, raw onion, white wine and tomato sauce can disturb sleep by making heartburn worse. That is why you may regret eating a slice of piece before bed.

9. Foods that Make You Gassy

Some types of cuisine could spell disaster for sound sleep. Foods that are difficult to digest and contain a lot of fiber may cause painful gas. Pressure and cramping caused by too much dried fruit, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts can keep you up late. High-fiber fruits and vegetables are great for your body, but not great for sleep; try to avoid them before bedtime.

Instead, You Should Snack on These Foods…

For most people, going to bed hungry is disastrous for quality rest. So, if you need a snack or late meal before it is time to doze off, try some of these options. They are considered nutritious and good for sleep health because of the inclusion of tryptophan or their natural ability to raise serotonin or melatonin levels. You might be surprised by some of these sleep-inducing foods.

  • Oatmeal,
  • Whole-grain toast,
  • Granola,
  • Milk,
  • Cheese,
  • Cottage cheese,
  • Yogurt,
  • Walnuts,
  • Almonds,
  • Hummus,
  • Chamomile, ginger and passionfruit tea,
  • Honey,
  • Cherries,
  • Bananas,
  • Berries.

Get more helpful tips on how to Stay Energized Throughout the Day.

Wondering Why You Are Still Awake?

Sleep Health Solutions is a specialized sleep evaluation clinic focused on helping you finally feel rested. Contact our office to request a consultation.

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