Avoid These Foods Before Bedtime for a Good Night Sleep

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There are already many things that keep us up at night. Food definitely shouldn’t be one of them. Unfortunately, many of our food choices, especially before bed, don’t exactly help us sleep well. So, what are those foods we need to get a good night’s rest? Without further ado, here are top ten foods to avoid before bed.

#1 Alcohol

A couple of beers, two glasses of wine, one nightcap, all these might not seem like a lot of alcohol and they probably aren’t. It even feels like they could help you fall asleep better. But the truth is alcohol does not help you get better sleep and there are three solid reasons you should avoid alcohol before you go to bed, especially binge drinking.

One reason is that alcohol does help people fall asleep quite alright but that’s a gift that will take something from you in return. Alcohol tends to interrupt a person’s natural REM cycle later in the night even after inducing sleep. So, in the end, you get little quality sleep even though you fell asleep fast.

Secondly, when you take alcohol, all the muscles in your body relax and this can worsen certain sleep conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. It can also cause you to snore loudly when you sleep.

The third reason alcohol is bad for your sleep is your esophageal sphincter which gets affected by booze. Alcohol also relaxes this muscle and this can cause acid reflux and make sleep uncomfortable for you.

#2 Ice Cream

It seems like a crime to put ice cream on the list of worst foods for bed. It’s pretty much universally agreed at this point that ice cream is comfort food, whether you’ve just suffered a bad breakup or a disappointing moment at work, ice cream makes everything better. Well, maybe it does, but it sure does not make your sleep better. And why’s that?

Well, for one, ice cream is high in fat and your body does not get to burn all that fat before you go to bed.

Secondly, you’re literally pumping your body full of sugar before going to bed which sends the message to your body to supply energy for work. But you also want to go to bed. So, that’s conflicting messages for your body.

Besides, since your body can’t process all that sugar in such a short time, it just converts it into fat. So, you can’t get a good sleep and you also put on weight. It really just ends up being a lose-lose situation.

But far more worrying is the fact that high-sugar foods when consumed before bed can cause nightmares. So, you might want to pick your comfort foods more wisely, especially just before bed.

#3 Chocolate

Chocolate contains high levels of caffeine and the problem with that is hopefully quite obvious. Caffeine is just not something you eat if you plan to sleep.

But here’s why caffeine before bed makes a terrible choice.

When you take caffeine before bed, it causes rapid eye movement to occur more frequently in the latter stages of your sleep when your eyes are supposed to be at rest. This is why you typically feel groggy in the morning if you had coffee the night before.

So, for the sake of quality sleep, make sure you avoid foods containing caffeine like coffee, tea, chocolates, energy drinks and the likes, at least, four to six hours before bed.

#4 Celery

Shocking, right? But celery is bad for your sleep and the reason for this is because celery is a natural diuretic. This means that it’s going to make you pee more often. And, of course, if you have to keep getting up every other hour to pee in the middle of the night, you’d agree that the quality of your sleep is not going to be great.

Diuretics work by pushing water through your system which is why you pee more often when you take them. So, while veggies are great and nutritious food choices for your health, maybe lay off the celery before bed so you can get some uninterrupted sleep.

#5 Cheese

Cheese is another comfort food that is absolutely terrible for your sleep.

Here’s why you should avoid cheese before bed, especially strong or aged cheese.

Aged cheese, as well as strong cheese, contains a certain amino acid called tyramine in very high amounts. And tyramine does the opposite of lulling you to sleep, it keeps you alert by causing your adrenal gland to secrete the fight or flight hormone. This hormone when secreted can keep you alert for a few hours. You definitely don’t want to be taking something like that before bed, that is, if you want to get a good sleep.

But cheese isn’t the only food that contains high levels of tyramine. Another group of foods that contain high levels of tyramine are preserved meats like pepperoni, bacon, and ham. So, make sure to avoid these foods before bed too.

#6 Pizza

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Everyone loves pizza. Not so sure our stomachs can say the same, though. Why? Pizza gives your gut a lot of work! There’s just so much for your stomach to sort out from the greasiness, to the saltiness, to the carbs. Especially when the body is supposed to be kicking back and getting some sleep, tasking your stomach with the job of sorting through all of this is a little unfair, don’t you think?

The tomato sauce is highly acidic which just increases your chances for acid reflux. The fatty toppings and all the high-fat add-ons like cheeses and meats also help to trigger heartburn as well. Perfect recipes for an interrupted sleep.

Yeah, one slice of pizza won’t kill you. But be honest with yourself, when last did you stop at one?

#7 Curry

Spicy food in general is bad for you before going to bed, and curry is spicy food. Mustard and hot sauce are also spicy foods. The reason they are really bad for sleep is because they contain high levels of capsaicin, and capsaicin is a chemical that interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

When you consume high amounts of capsaicin, your body elevates its temperature and this could affect your sleep. And that’s not even all, your body would need a good deal of energy to be able to break down the spices which is another reason you’re not going to get a good sleep.

So, if you’re a lover of Indian food, that’s great but just make sure you avoid eating it before bed. In fact, avoid all kinds of spice and spicy food any time before bed.

#8 Cereal

Thankfully, cereal is mostly eaten in the morning as breakfast but, sometimes, some people like to have a bowl of cereal at night, especially if they weren’t able to whip up something earlier.

However, even though cereal is a convenient food, it won’t help you get the rest you need. And that’s because cereals are heavily processed with a high amount of refined sugar and carbohydrates. Taking this just before bed will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, followed by a crash. That’s too much for your body to experience just before bed.

So, instead of reaching for your box of sugary cereal before bed, if you must have cereal, go for the healthier kind of cereal. Something that is whole grain, with a low level of sugar. It will take care of your craving and help you sleep better.

#9 Red Meat

For those of us that eat meat, red meat is absolutely delicious, whether it’s in the form of a nice brisket or it’s a tender, juicy steak. Pair it with the right choice of wine, and dinner is served. Next thing you want to do is just fall asleep immediately, right? Well, wrong.

Red meat is full of protein and fats and it gives your stomach a lot to process. So, instead of your body getting some well-deserved rest at night, it begins the hard work of processing all that meat.

If you really want to get a good, deep sleep, then all the systems in your body have to be at peace. And you know what makes meat worse? It takes the most time to digest of all the food types. So, maybe take a break from meat just before bed.

#10 Garlic

There are many reasons to stay away from garlic before bed besides bad breath. Garlic is what you’ll call a “hot herb.” It’s pretty much in the same category as curry and contains certain chemical substances that can cause heartburn.

Besides, garlic tends to upset the stomach too. So, if you have a weak stomach or you always get acid reflux, then garlic is only going to ignite the fire in your stomach before you go to bed. So, do well to avoid.

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