It’s 10 pm on a Monday night and you still have an hour left of last night’s HBO shows. You could watch alone, but it just wouldn’t seem natural. You need a big bowl of munchies by your side, keeping you company until you fall asleep. But your TV companion could actually be doing you more harm than good. These are the top 10 munchies you should avoid before bed.
1. Ice Cream
We all have that one Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor that has kept us company through the darkest hours of the night. Unfortunately, your favorite scoop is filled with fat and sugar. You actually want to avoid it before bed because not only will the sugar get your body going with energy when you’re trying to sleep, but you won’t be able to burn off any of the calories, so it will all just be stored as fat.
Dieters often make the mistake of munching down on celery before bed because – hypothetically – it makes you lose weight since you burn more calories trying to digest it than it actually has. But celery is actually a natural diuretic, meaning it will cause you going back and forth from the bedroom to your bathroom all night long, resulting in disruptive sleep.
3. Spicy Food
That nightmare you have of failing your organic chemistry final may be because of late night spicy food binges… Since spicy foods are so hard to digest, they cause you to wake up a lot during the night. This disruption in your sleep results in remembering more of your dreams, and you’ll probably recall nightmares more vividly. So while that spicy chicken curry may not directly cause your nightmare, it will cause you to wake up and remember it.
Your eyes may slowly start to shut after a few glasses of wine, but in the long run, alcohol doesn’t act as a sleep aid. While the booze may cause you to initially fall asleep, it ultimately ends up disrupting your deep sleep, shortening your overall sleeping time by at least 19 minutes.
Save the In-N-Out and Shake Shack trips for the afternoon only. Countless articles tell us that greasy, high-protein, high-fat foods are hard to digest. So choosing such items at night makes your stomach work hard when it should be resting, resulting in indigestion and heartburn. Plus, these foods are also usually high in calories, which can leave you waking up with a full stomach and feeling gross the next morning. Don’t let your late night snack turn into a full-blown meal.
6. Orange Juice
Orange juice, grapefruit and other acidic fruits will increase your stomach’s acidity, causing heartburn which will disrupt your sleep cycle. Save the OJ for the morning, folks.
Besides the fact that you can never just eat one Oreo, late night cookies may be the cause of overeating in the morning. Cookies, or any dessert high in sugar, will spark sugar levels at night, which will make you wake up starving due to an overproduction of insulin. Now you’ll consume even more calories, on top of the calories from your Insomnia cookies order. Uh-oh.
It seems obvious – coffee before bed means caffeine, which means energy, which means you can’t fall asleep. But, what you might not know is that caffeine from coffee can actually stay in your system for up to 5 hours, so your afternoon coffee might affect when you are able to fall asleep. In fact, even a 4 pm pick me up is a bad idea if you want a good night’s sleep.
Bodybuilder.com says that pretzels are a “late night no-no.” Not only are pretzels made from flour, which results in a blood sugar spike disrupting sleep patterns, but the salt can also leave you feeling bloated. Consuming salty foods at night can result in water retention. Even though it’s not permanent weight gain, no one wants to wake up feeling puffy.
10. Dark Chocolate
Not only does dark chocolate secretly contain caffeine (sneakyyy) which will keep you awake at night, but it’s filled with sugar, fat, and calories. Basically everything you don’t want right before bedtime. So don’t do it.