8 Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime
If you're hankering for a bedtime snack or beverage, don’t just grab the first thing that sounds good. While some foods — a light, carby snack like crackers or an apple — can actually help your sleep, many others can disrupt your sleep, causing nightmares, an irritated tummy, insomnia and sleep-interrupting trips to the potty.
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You might want to rethink that late-night order for pizza... for a lot of reasons. That cheesy topping might give you nightmares, according to a recent study, and the acidic tomato sauce can lead to tummy aches and 2 a.m. trips to the bathroom. Plus, pizza is really more than a bedtime snack; eating a second dinner adds a lot of extra calories that you probably don't need.
While some people seem able to down a late-night espresso without losing a wink of sleep, most are not so lucky. If caffeine affects your sleep, try not to have any later than six hours before bedtime.
We get it. Sometimes a bowl of cereal at bedtime is just the thing. But you're better off sticking with a low-sugar, high-fiber kind, like Cheerios or bran flakes. Sugary cereals digest rapidly in your system, so the spike in blood sugar could throw off some of your sleep hormones, and low-fiber diets are linked to lighter sleep. Your best bet might be to forgo the food and just get some z's — when you're not getting enough sleep, you're more apt to seek energy by eating more food (especially sugar).
Spicy foods do more than stimulate your taste buds — they also can irritate your stomach (particularly problematic if you're prone to heartburn), which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Between the bubbles and the possible caffeine, soda is a no-no before bedtime. And if it's regular — not diet — soda, it's chock-full of sugar, which is super-stimulating. Sugar is also linked to shallower, less restful sleep.
While a glass or two of wine might initially make you sleepy, alcohol actually disrupts your natural sleep patterns. Regularly consuming alcohol (especially before bedtime) can worsen your sleep quality and also means you might wake up in the middle of the night and early in the morning to pee.
Citrus fruits are very acidic, and that's problematic if you have reflux or a sensitive bladder. Try eating a whole piece of fruit, such an apple, instead. The carbohydrates can actually help your sleep, while the fiber helps you absorb the sugar more slowly.
A heavy, fatty meal like a burger gets your digestive tract working hard, which can be disruptive if you're trying to get to sleep. A recent study found that eating too much saturated fat is linked to lighter sleep with more wakefulness.