10 Foods To Avoid Before Bed

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Are you having trouble sleeping from time to time? The trigger could be something you ate, as too many comfort foods and drinks right before bed may be bad for sleep quality. Therefore, it's important to discover the foods that keep you from a good night's sleep.

So, skip these foods and get a good rest tonight.

1. Chocolate

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You should know the facts about candy bars before you go to bed. After a stressful day, it can be tempting to reach for that piece of chocolate, but it's the worst food to eat at night. This delicious dessert contains caffeine that boosts feelings of alertness and keeps you awake and energized throughout the night.

Just 100 grams of dark chocolate provides 43 mg of caffeine. Furthermore, this candy is high in sugar, which can spike your blood sugar before bed, negatively impacting sleep. In one study, people who consumed more sugar and saturated fat had less deep sleep and woke up more during the night.

2. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are known to affect sleep. Spices, like cayenne and hot pepper, can get blood flowing and raise body temperature, the opposite of where it needs to go for good sleep. Spicy foods like curry, chicken tikka, hot sauce, and mustard, possess high levels of capsaicin.

This chemical raises body temperature by meddling with the thermoregulation process in the body, which disrupts sleep. In addition, spices worsen heartburn and cause digestive problems, which make it more difficult to fall asleep. So, skip spicy meals and food containing chili peppers before bedtime.

3. Ice Cream

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Consuming high-sugar food not only negatively affects health but also impacts sleep. You may enjoy ice cream as a dessert after dinner, but take some time before bed as it is packed with high amounts of sugar and fat, and try some light soothing exercises. Serving merely 100 grams of vanilla ice cream supplies 21.2 grams of sugar and 11 grams of fat.

The sugar content directly spikes blood sugar levels, disrupting sleep. The fat in this dessert takes a long time to digest, and the digestive function slows down when you sleep. As a result, it keeps your body from resting and negatively impacts sleep patterns.

4. Fast Food

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When you are tired, you may feel convenient to have some fast food like fries and burgers before bed, but do you know you are choosing the worst option for your good night's sleep? Fast food like chips, hamburgers, french fries, pizza, and hot dogs are high in calories and fat. High-calorie foods, particularly those packed with unhealthy fats, aren't great before bed.

That excess fat intake can slow down an already sluggish digestive system at night, leading to digestive discomfort. In addition, these foods are highly processed, which can negatively impact sleep quality by leading to insomnia.

5. Bacon

Bacon's high-fat content makes it challenging to digest right before bed and causes digestive disturbances. The stimulant chemical, tyramine, hidden in each piece, is enough to prevent sleep until the digestion process is finished. It is also high in fat, as serving only 100 grams of bacon provides a whopping 37.1 grams of fat.

During sleep, the digestive system slows down, and the fat content makes it hard to digest as it triggers acid production in the gut, leading to sleep-inhibiting acid reflux. Also, fatty foods are the heartburn-triggering foods that you should avoid to confirm you can get a deep sleep. 

There is a reason why bacon is served for breakfast not an ideal dinner.

6. Chicken

Chicken is rich in animal-based protein that takes a lot of energy to digest, and extending this process can throw off your sleep schedule. This protein includes the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts brain activity. On top of that, if mixed with spices, it will increase metabolism and act as a wake-up call for the body, making it hard to fall asleep.

In addition, consuming fried chicken before bed could disturb sleep as it's high in fat. Serving only 100 grams of fried chicken wing pieces delivers 20.1 grams of fat. Also, high-fat foods can worsen acid reflux symptoms, making it challenging to sleep at night.

7. Diuretic Food

You may walk around tired and irritable due to mild dehydration without realizing it, but the time to pack up on diuretic food and drink isn't before bed. Diuretic foods are foods that cause excessive urination. Avoid all foods like carrots, celery, cucumber, watermelon, and ginger before bed, as they make you urinate more often.

These foods quickly push water through your system, eventually driving you to the bathroom instead of your bed. Waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom can adversely affect the quality of your sleep.

8. Cereal And Milk

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There may be a reason why cereal and milk are commonly considered breakfast foods. This breakfast combo is not the right choice for a good night's sleep. Dairy in milk and sugar in cereal raise blood sugar and work overnight to store fat in the body. Sugar also increases insulin levels, leading to restless sleep.

In addition, consuming milk at night can cause insulin release due to the carbohydrates present in milk, potentially disrupting the body's circadian rhythm. It can also slow down digestion and affect liver function, affecting sleep.

9. Coffee And Alcohol

When it comes to sleep, coffee and alcohol are the main villains. Coffee has caffeine content that will stay in the system long after sipping it, which makes you awake. Although it gives you immediate energy, the caffeine content in this beverage raises the feelings of alertness, and you feel energized and awake.

As a result, caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda negatively affect sleep. Research shows that ingesting coffee before bedtime significantly disrupts sleep even if you sip it many hours ago. On the other side, alcohol will stop you from achieving a restorative deep sleep. Drinking it can produce sleep illnesses like sleep apnea or worse.

10. Cheese

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Commonly considered a comfort food, cheese is the worst to eat before bed. Consuming cheese before bed is usually linked with negative effects, like nightmares, indigestion, and insomnia. Aged or strong cheese includes a naturally high amount of tyramine, an amino acid that keeps the brain alert for a long time.

This amino acid induces the adrenal glands to discharge the adrenaline hormone, which raises alertness for several hours. As a result, eating cheese tricks the body into feeling wide awake. Besides this, it can cause digestive upset. If you are suffering from reflux, consuming cheese at night can cause indigestion or heartburn.

Is It OK To Eat Right Before Bed?

Eating before bed has both positive and negative effects while looking at the food you consume. What you eat and when you eat can affect your sleep routine.

Thus, eating at night can have varied impacts on how fast you fall asleep, your sleep quality, and how you feel in the morning. Have a light snack that includes oatmeal, pistachios, and avocado instead of a large meal before bedtime for better sleep.

Some benefits of eating light snacks before bed:

  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels: Eating a carbohydrate-based snack at night can assist in raising blood sugar to the correct level.
  • Falling asleep faster: Foods that contain high levels of melatonin, serotonin, and tryptophan can shorten the time to fall asleep and enhance overall sleep quality.
  • Satisfy the appetite: Snacks rich in nutrients and low in calories before bedtime can suppress hunger cravings without disrupting or delaying sleep.

Risks Of Eating Before Bed

Consuming a full or heavy meal before bed can impact your digestion and sleep quality. If you eat close to bedtime, you may experience gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux. When a person lies down after eating, stomach contents can press against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), and acid reflux can occur.

Additionally, eating a high-calorie meal with a large amount of fat or carbohydrates less than an hour before bed can increase the time it takes to fall asleep. Also, depending on the food types and portions, eating near bedtime may raise the obesity chances.

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