I’m a terrible sleeper. I wish I wasn’t, but there are way too many nights where I lie awake and stare at the ceiling until I can hear the birds chirping outside my window. I know how miserable that sound is and, if you’re anything like me, you probably do too. If you’re already not sleeping, don’t make it worse by eating something that could keep anyone awake. If you limit your intake of the foods on this list, you might just find sleep coming a little easier.
This one pretty much goes without saying, but here’s a reminder that caffeine is in more than just coffee. Sure, don’t have coffee too late in the day if you have trouble sleeping, but you should also be limiting your intake of many teas, sodas, chocolates, protein bars, ice creams and even yogurts.
When you have a glass of wine before bed, you might end of feeling drowsy and you might doze off. While the glass might help you fall asleep, it’s going to make staying asleep and falling into a deeper sleep harder. Alcohol has been shown to reduce REM sleep, which basically means that, even if you do sleep, you’re going to wake up feeling like you haven’t.
Something spicy before bed may cause nightmares, but you might not even get to that point because it may keep you up. Overall, people who eat spicy foods before bed have had trouble falling asleep and get less sleep altogether. This issue could be due to the fact that spicy foods often cause indigestion, but it may also be because they raise body temperature.
Sorry, but you should probably just save bacon for breakfast. Preserved meats, like bacon, ham, or pepperoni, are high in a chemical called tyramine, which stimulates your body’s fight or flight mechanism. That trigger is going to leave you alert and agitated. Tyramine is also hiding out in fermented cheeses, smoked fish, some types of beer, eggplant, red wine, and tomatoes.
Greasy, high-fat foods take longer to digest, which means that if you eat dinner at 7 pm and go to bed at 11 pm, your stomach might still be trying to break down your burger. When your body is still trying to digest, it has a harder time falling asleep. Plus, lying down too soon after eating a high fat meal may cause heartburn or acid reflux, both of which are sure to keep you up.
I didn’t want to put candy or other refined sugars too high on this list because there’s a common misconception about them. A lot of people are quick to blame sugar for their insomnia, but it’s actually more likely that it’s the caffeine in the candy or cake or ice cream that’s really doing the damage. Still, refined sugars cause a spike in blood-glucose levels which makes it harder to fall asleep.
7. Protein Bars
Anything that’s very high in protein is not good to have before bed. If you’re prone to eating a late dinner, be sure not to make it too protein-heavy. Protein takes a long time to digest. Even though you may be thinking that you’re eating healthy by eating tons of it, you may have as much trouble sleeping as you would if you ate a burger and fries.
Think you’re being healthy by getting your greens at night? Well, healthy, yes, but you may be risking a loss of sleep. Broccoli is hard to digest, which will keep your body up. Broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts contain an indigestible sugar, which produces a large amount of gas. That gas could cause abdominal pain, which is sure to keep you awake.