I will spare you the extensive lecture on the health benefits of getting a good night’s rest. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but what might surprise you is the number of healthy foods that are actually disrupting your sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, having a small snack before bed can actually help you sleep, but you need to make sure that you’re consuming the right things. Just like exercise, certain foods that may be good for you throughout the day should be avoided close to bed time.
1. Red Wine
It’s no secret that red wine has a number of health benefits. It can improve your cholesterol, boost your immune system, and enhance brain functioning. But any alcohol too close to bed time will disrupt the REM sleep cycle, so be sure to enjoy your daily glass of red wine earlier in the evening.
2. Dark Chocolate
Like red wine, dark chocolate contains a number of antioxidants that are beneficial for your heart and brain. However, because chocolate contains trace amounts of caffeine, indulging too late at night could make you restless. Be sure to enjoy your homemade dark chocolate bark at least two hours before you plan on sleeping.
3. Green Tea
Over the last few years, green tea has gained a lot of praise for its many health benefits. But just like dark chocolate, tea contains caffeine, so don’t pour a cup unless your planning on staying up late.
Starting your morning with a high-protein breakfast will help keep you full and fueled throughout the day. However, protein can be difficult to digest, and when your body is focused on digestion, it becomes more difficult for your body to rest. So all high-protein foods, even lean meats such as chicken, should be avoided late at night.
Although it’s a good source of healthy fats, seafood also packs enough protein to keep you up at night. Try mixing it up and enjoying your salmon in a breakfast scramble instead.
Grapefruit sorbet may serve as a healthier alternative to ice cream, but just don’t eat it too late at night. The high amount of acid in this nutrient-dense fruit can cause uncomfortable heartburn that’s sure to keep you up.
We all know that we need to drink more water throughout the day, but during the few hours before you go to sleep, you may want to consider putting the glass down. Drinking too much water before bedtime will cause you to wake up and have to pee throughout the night.
Because of its high water content, eating a ton of celery late at night will have the same effect as drinking too much water. Instead, enjoy celery in your lunch by making this refreshing summer salad.
Although delicious and nutritious when blended into a mint smoothie, watermelon also contains too much water to be a good late night snack. Bring it on your afternoon picnic, but skip it before going to bed.
Tomatoes contain large amounts of tyramine, an amino acid which triggers the brain to release norepinephrine. This chemical stimulates brain activity. So a tomato and egg scramble may be a great breakfast before a long day of classes, but stay away from tomatoes late at night to avoid racing thoughts while trying to sleep.
This nutrient-rich vegetable may reduce the risk of cancer, but its health benefits don’t make it easier to digest. Broccoli contains difficult-to-digest fibers that make it a less than ideal late night snack.
Broccoli’s white cousin makes a great low-carb alternative to pizza crust and bread, but be sure to enjoy these healthy “indulgences” earlier in the evening. Because it also contains fibers that aren’t easily digested, cauliflower can keep you from getting a good night’s rest.
Not only do spices add flavor without calories, but many have their own unique health benefits. But eating food with too many spices, especially ginger or chili powder, can cause heartburn. Eat heavily spiced food earlier in the evening to avoid any discomfort while you’re trying to sleep.
14. Raw onion
People may shy away from onions on date night because they cause bad breath, but did you also know that they can cause gas? Excess bloating late at night can become so uncomfortable that you can’t sleep, so if you want to eat onions with dinner, try cooking them to lessen the effect.
15. Dried Fruit
Spoon already called out dried fruit for having too much added sugar, but many people still consider it a healthy snack. While it may not be too bad to enjoy a handful in the afternoon, eating all that added sugar at night will prevent you from getting a restful sleep.