While stress can be a culprit of a sleepless night, it’s not the only one. If you’re having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep then you might want to consider what you eat before bed. Studies have shown that certain types of foods eaten before bed can cause nightmares, insomnia, weight gain, stomach problems, and late night trips to the bathroom.
Avoiding these bedtime snacks not only helps you get the required ZZZs, but also helps you stay alert, focused, and helps you make better and healthier nutritional choices the next day. So drop that leftover slice of pizza and skip the nightcap - your body will thank you in the morning after a good night’s rest.
Happy Hours, nightcaps, and end-of-work-day drinks are fun and a great way to relax when consumed in moderation. But alcohol can ruin your Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycle. Research shows that alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns when consumed before bedtime. It can also diminish the quality of your sleep throughout the night. Since alcohol is a muscle relaxer, it often causes snoring. Consuming a lot of liquid before bedtime, in general, interrupts your sleep, as you'll wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Don’t satisfy your sweet tooth with chocolate after dinner because it can interrupt your sleep. An average two-ounce, 70% dark chocolate bar contains about 79 mg of caffeine, which is more than a four-ounce cup of coffee. It can prevent your body from shutting down and decrease your ability to sustain deeper stages of sleep. If you can’t give up your chocolate treat and are sensitive to caffeine, try having a smaller portion earlier in the day instead of closer to bedtime.
Although these might be the most obvious foods to avoid before bed, some people have a hard time letting go of these snacks. The caffeine in coffee and soda can affect your body for up to 14 hours, making you stay awake and alert throughout the night. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system several hours after it has been consumed, so be cautious of that evening cup of coffee or soda. Experts say you should avoid caffeine at least six to eight hours before you plan to go to bed.
Who doesn’t love pizza? Although this satisfying snack might be the easiest thing to reach for before going to bed, you probably shouldn’t. The fat from the cheese and acid from the tomato sauce is a bad combo that can wreak havoc not only on your waistline but on your sleep cycle. This high-acid food can cause acid reflux, which can wake you up throughout the night and make you feel groggy the next day. Recent studies have also shown that the greasy cheese topping on pizza can cause nightmares.
It’s no surprise that too much sugar is bad for you. So skip that late night bowl of high-sugar cereal. Sugary cereals digest quickly in your system, triggering your blood sugar to spike and crash, which throws off your sleep hormones. But if you really want a bowl of cereal before bed then try a low-sugar, high-fiber cereal instead.
Sure spicy food is great for boosting your metabolism and giving taste buds a kick, but it can ruin your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Eating spicy foods before bed can cause heartburn and raise your body’s core temperature. With your core temperature increased, you may feel more awake preventing you from staying asleep throughout the night.
If you have acid reflux issues or a sensitive bladder then you’ll want to avoid drinking a glass of OJ before going to sleep. The acidity of citrus fruits like orange juice, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice can cause problems in your body and ruin your sleep. They have been known to cause nightmares as well as crash and spike blood sugar levels.
Burgers are high-fat foods that are tough to digest, which will make your digestive tract work overtime instead of relaxing and easing into sleep mode. Eating a burger or other heavy foods with saturated fat before bed will make you feel bloated and cause indigestion that will interfere with your sleep cycle and make you feel groggy and restless.
Water is good for the body and keeps you hydrated and healthy, but it’s not a good idea to drink a glass or two before bed. Drinking too much water right before you go to sleep will cause you to wake up multiple times during the night. It’s recommended to not drink any liquids at least three hours before bedtime.
Besides causing bad breath, eating raw onions before bed can give you gas and will alter the pressure in your stomach, resulting in acid reflux. Raw onions have been known to cause long-lasting acid reflux in people who already suffer from heartburn.