Foods you should never eat before bed.
People know that exposure to light, loud noises, and high temperature may disrupt your sleep. But most of them had no idea that eating certain foods may affect the quality of sleep.
If you want a sound sleep that will keep you active and productive throughout the day, it is better to avoid these foods.
Why some foods affect sleep?
It is a rule of thumb that after a busy routine. Your body gets tired, and you go to sleep.
Some factors may not let you sleep even when you are too tired. Some of them are; sickness, bloated stomach, chest burns, muscular pain or cramps, dehydration, and some foods.
The foods that we eat to satisfy our taste buds may be one of the reasons for sleepless nights. Research showed that eating fewer carbs, high-fat foods, and more sugary desserts, especially in dinner are closely linked with lighter and low-quality sleep with multiple awakenings. (1)
We have compiled a list of 15 foods that do not let you sleep faster and also result in periodic awakenings as you sleep.
15 foods to avoid before bedtime
There are some foods that specifically have the power to destroy your sleep. The list of 15 worst foods before bed that every sleep enthusiast should avoid for a better sleep are as follows.
Who can resist a creamy slice of Pepperoni Pizza? Eating pizza close to bed gives you heartburns. A cheesy and juicy piece of pizza contains a high ounce of calories. The tomato sauce used in it is acidic that can harm your sleep routine and can cause stomach discomfort while trying to sleep. Pizza is high on carbohydrate meal that is hard to digest and may result in a 2 a.m. visit to the washroom, breaking a continuous stream of good quality sleep.
It is recommended by food and digestion experts to eat high carbs lunch as you have the entire day to consume the food. However, it is highly advised to eat dinner 2 to 3 hours before bed and try a moderate meal at the dinner table. (2)
2. Grape fruit and oranges
Citrus fruits are acidic foods and can affect your sleep by giving frequent heartburn. Fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, mandarin, tangerine, and lime are some common citrus fruits. They can be problematic for people having sensitive reflux. They are natural diuretics. So before sleeping, do not eat oranges or take some lemonade as they make you urinate several times during the night. May keep you awake as you are trying to sleep.
Eat a high on carbohydrate fruit like an apple. Getting a sufficient amount of carbohydrates will help you fall asleep faster, and the fiber in apple absorbs sugar to help wind down as you sleep.
Drinking alcohol may initially help you to fall asleep faster. On the other hand, consuming alcohol disrupts your sleep hygiene. Remember, alcohol is not a sleeping aid. It affects the most resting part of your sleep. The REM sleep is the most restful phase of sleep, and here all the dreaming takes place. Daily consumption of alcohol may disturb your sleep patterns. It may force you to wake up early or several times during the night to urinate due to the high consumption of liquid.
All the party lovers bear with me on this. The beer had a low amount of alcohol as compared to wine, martini, or tequila. Still, it is enough to cause muscle cramping as you sleep and may force you to go to the bathroom several times in the night.
Sorry for being the bearer of bad news. A chocolate bar before bedtime can have a severe effect on how you sleep. The reason is that chocolate bars are full of sugar and a spike in blood sugar level keeps your brain active, making it difficult to sleep.
Dark chocolate contains a considerable amount of caffeine. A 100 grams chocolate bar that contains 70% of dark chocolate has approximately 43 milligrams of caffeine that is the same as in a half cup of coffee.
Caffeine increases arousal. It stops your body from winding down and affects sleep at the deeper stages (REM Sleep).
5. Fatty foods
Now here comes the main culprit of sleepless nights. We can talk all day about fatty foods or junk foods. It should be pretty clear that you have to get rid of burgers, french fries, loaded burritos, nachos, and all the fatty foods from your dinner table. These types of foods are hard to digest. They keep your stomach bloated that causes unrest in the stomach. All of this lead to disrupted sleep, along with many wake-ups throughout the night.
Want to feel active and refreshed as you wake up, discard these fatty foods from your dinner, or at least consume them 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to avoid indigestion.(3)
6. Sugary cereals
Feeling a light hunger at night, let’s just eat some froot loops with milk. Don’t even think about it! Sugary cereal is not the right choice for a meal before bed. Eating high on sugar foods causes blood sugar to go up. This gives a burst of energy in your body and will not let you doze off in the world of sleep (4).
If you want to eat some cereal before bed it is good to eat sugar-free cereal or a cereal having less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
7. Coffee or black tea
Coffee and tea are the force pills that people consume when they don’t want to sleep. Both of them are the holy grail of caffeine. When we take a cup of tea or coffee, caffeine in them remains in our body for several hours. Caffeine activates our central nervous system and makes our senses more attentive. That is why people consume a lot of coffee at work.
An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, and it stays in our system for 8 to 14 hours. On the other hand, black tea contains 47 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup. So, it is best to drink coffee or tea in the afternoon or at lunch so that they could filter out from the body as bedtime approaches.
8. Ice cream
Is there anyone who can say no to a chocolate fudge ice cream? Especially after a great dinner at your favorite restaurant. But you have to say “no” as a couple of scoops of ice cream can disturb your sleep schedule. Ice creams are full of fat, and even the low-fat ice creams have sugar. High intake of fat and sugar makes ice cream a perfect fit in the list of foods to avoid before bed.
Eating ice cream close to bedtime shoots cortisol level, which increases stress and makes it difficult for the body to shut down and embrace a good quality sleep.
Dairy products are not a suitable option when it comes to recommending as a late-night snack as they contain a high dose of fats. Fats are the most efficient form of energy. That is why our body stores any excess energy as fat. Eating high-fat foods gives energy that fuels your metabolism that can interrupt your sleep routine.
Some people have allergies to dairy foods. It can be a complete disaster if they eat a cheese platter close to sleep. As said by Dr. Moy, “They can face inflammation, a bloated stomach, and gas while trying to sleep.”
10. Spicy foods and hot pepper
Spicy food is the way to go when it comes to satisfying your taste buds. A spicy Indian thali or an Arabian BarBQ delight is a great way of pumping up your metabolism. The thing to note is that: cayenne, chili powder, jalapeno, hot pepper, and Tabasco spices have capsaicin in them. That is the problem causing heartburns and digestive discomfort, especially for an individual with a sensitive stomach.
As you move toward bedtime, your body temperature gradually decreases. Eating spicy food close to the bed or in dinner increases the core temperature of the body that keeps you alert and may struggle in falling asleep.
11. Soda or Carbonated soft drinks
Soda is quite popular among the youth. It is a compulsory part of our refrigerator. But still, they have quite a significant amount of sugar and caffeine in them. So, drinking soda is a big “NO” before bedtime. The caffeine stimulates your nervous system. The sugar intake just before bed is a cause of poor sleep.
A 12 ounce can of soft drink contains 29 milligrams of caffeine. If we take a look at diet soft drinks, an 8 ounce can of diet soda has 32 milligrams of caffeine. It is quite astonishing to see that diet soda has more quantity of caffeine as compared to regular soft drinks. (5)
Another thing to know is that non-cola sodas like sprite are caffeine-free. They still possess a considerable amount of sugar, making them a no-no before bedtime.
12. Tomato pury and tomato products
Tomatoes are a significant part of Asian cuisine. Tomato is a super acidic fruit. Eating tomato-based products or crazy delicious India gravy may not be a good option if you are short on your sleep schedule.
The sole reason for not eating a tomato in any form is it gives you heartburns. It makes it hard for you to fall asleep. May also results in frequent wake-ups throughout the night. Says Amanda Miller registered dietician and advisor Fitter Living.
People love to eat Italian food. Pasta is a complete food made from wheat flour that is mixed with water and cut into sheets or different shapes.
Pasta is high on carbohydrate. It activates the fat-storage function in your body. It is better to eat whole wheat pasta before bedtime as a snack that is high on fiber and made from complex carbs. Whole wheat products are light on the stomach and easy to digest.
14. High protein dinner
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
One of the aspects to see this quote is that light and mild dinner that is easy to consume will aid you in getting some good sleep.
High on protein, carbohydrates, or fatty dinner may lead to an uncomfortable sleep, or it may lead to a session of frequent tossing and turnings throughout the night.
Eating a high protein meal will keep you full in the night. However, the research shows that it will cause indigestion and may also cause acid reflux as you are sleeping with a full stomach.
The name says all. Watermelon has a lot of water. It is a delicious fruit that is best if you want to stay hydrated on a sunny afternoon. However, eating watermelon before bedtime is not recommended at all. The reason being that tons of water intake will make you pee more, and this will disturb your sleep as you will have to go to the bathroom one or two times during the sleeping hours.
The interruptions in your sleep will not only disturb your sleep patterns, but it will also make you feel tired throughout the day.
Sleep is an essential part of human life. Good sleep has closely been related to the things you eat before going to bed. It is quite a challenge to control the lust for crazy delicious food even when you crave a bit of a snack before going to bed. But as it says, “To get some, you have to lose some. On the same token, to gain a healthy sleep routine, you have to lose all the above foods at least before going to sleep.