It’s only natural that you may have a little rumble in the tummy close to bedtime…and as we have mentioned before in our post “Mistakes to Avoid Before Bedtime to Avoid Insomnia”, it is never a good idea to go to bed too hungry nor too full. So, if you absolutely must get a snack in to satisfy your cravings it is best to avoid these eleven foods and drinks right before bedtime…otherwise you could be in for a long night of restless sleep causing insomnia.
Some of these are seriously no-brainers, but others may come to be quite surprising;
Unless you are a baby, which I am guessing you are not as you are able to read this post, you should try and avoid milk for a couple reasons;
- If you happen to be lactose intolerant and you don’t know it, then a glass of milk before bed could leave your digestive system upset. As a result, you may not get to sleep because you have to run to the bathroom throughout the night.
- If you are glucose intolerant (and one in three people are), then milk can lead you to have a blood sugar crash in the middle of the night. As a result, you may wake up starving at two in the morning.
Whether you are lactose or glucose intolerant or not, you simply don’t want to take the chance. Just avoid milk before bed and ensure it doesn’t keep you awake so you can avoid insomnia.
2. Chocolate (I know, this one may hurt a bit)
While a small piece of chocolate during the day can actually help lower stress hormones in your body, you will want to avoid this sweet treat when you go to bed. That’s because it does contain caffeine. Some people assume that it’s not enough to keep them awake, but that isn’t true.
Some people are especially sensitive to caffeine, meaning even a small amount could be enough to keep them awake. At the same time, these people rarely realize they have this sensitivity. So, that chocolate bar you have before bed could be keeping you wide awake when you really just want some shuteye.
This one is probably a no-brainer, but let’s talk about it anyway. Chili may seem like a nice, hearty meal to have for dinner, and it is as long as you don’t eat it too late in the day. In fact, there are actually good reasons why you should consider eating chili during the day – it is full of slow-burning carbs. However, eating this meal late at night is almost a guaranteed recipe for heartburn.
In fact, people who usually don’t have this form of digestive upset find that a dish like chili can cause it. If you have ever gone to bed with heartburn before, you already know how much this can interrupt your sleep. You will find it hard to get to sleep in the first place, and then if you do, you will not be able to get to deep sleep because your body is uncomfortable.
4. Chinese Food
Lots of people find themselves wanting a late-night snack and they turn to a classic: Chinese food. The problem, though, is that most of these foods have MSG in them. This food additive, which stands for monosodium glutamate, is used regularly as a flavor enhancer in all sorts of Asian food. While it may taste pretty good, MSG works as a stimulant. It will work in much the same way as caffeine, keeping you awake at night.
The good news is that MSG doesn’t linger with its effects like caffeine does. So, just make sure you don’t eat Chinese food a couple of hours before bedtime and it shouldn’t cause any problems.
This may sound like a strange one, but you will definitely want to avoid celery as a late night snack. It is certainly a healthy vegetable and one that many people like to munch on with toppings like peanut butter or ranch dressing. However, celery will keep you awake at night and can cause insomnia.
That’s because celery is a fairly strong diuretic. In other words, if you eat the green stalks as a snack, you will likely find yourself running to the bathroom every few hours all night.
6. Fruit Juice
People immediately assume that fruit juice is healthy for them. While the fruit itself is good for you, the juice will contain high amounts of sugar. As a result, when you drink fruit juice and then go to bed, you will have a blood sugar crash that could keep you from getting into a deep sleep.
Additionally, certain types of fruit juice are high in acid, which means they can cause heartburn that will keep you awake and definitely keep you from deep sleep stages. So, you especially need to avoid orange, grapefruit, and cranberry juice right before bedtime.
7. Ice Cream (Say it ain’t so!!)
Many people eat ice cream as a snack or even as a comfort food when they are feeling down. However, you will want to avoid it in the evening. Of course, ice cream is dairy and that can wreak havoc on the system for people who are lactose intolerant. Additionally, it is chock full of sugar and this will cause blood sugar spikes that tell your body you need energy. The last thing you want to do is lay down for bed when your body has just been told it is time to have lots of energy.
Then, when the blood sugar spikes crash, you could end up tossing and turning or even waking up feeling starved right in the middle of the night.
8. Indian Curry
Seriously, you had to have guessed this one. Full of spices, Indian Curry will keep you from getting sound sleep. A study was even conducted about this in Australia. People who eat this many spices before bedtime, not only had trouble going to sleep, but did not sleep well at all.
Additionally, Indian Curry often causes heartburn, and as we have already mentioned, heartburn is a guaranteed recipe for having trouble sleeping. All in all, it is best to avoid spicy foods late at night altogether in order to prevent insomnia.
9. Bacon Cheeseburgers (Or Any Large Amount of Meat)
This is another almost guaranteed recipe for heartburn. That’s because the large amount of fat in a food like a bacon cheeseburger will create a higher production of fat in the stomach. There are even studies that show how fatty foods weaken the sphincter between your esophagus and stomach. That means there will be even more of a chance of acid spilling into the esophagus, causing serious discomfort.
This type of heartburn will make it nearly impossible to go to sleep and definitely impossible for you to sleep well.
It’s impossible to stress this enough. Caffeine is a stimulant to the nerves. It tells your body to stay wide-awake. People who are sensitive to caffeine find that it makes them feel shaky, nervous, and even fuller of energy. You need to avoid any form of caffeine several hours before bed, and to play it safe, you really shouldn’t have it after early afternoon. This includes caffeine-laden sodas, coffee, energy drinks, and tea.
This one is hard for so many people, but as we have already mentioned, alcohol is very bad for sleep. Here are the reasons why:
- The alcohol will metabolize very quickly, meaning you will probably wake up several times during the night as your blood sugar changes.
- Studies have shown that alcohol will reduce the amount of time sleeping by several minutes. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol will reduce quality of sleep.
- Finally, alcohol has shown to make snoring worse. When you snore, you may not be getting the quality of sleep needed because your airway is obstructed.
So, absolutely no alcohol before bedtime ever. This includes wine, nightcaps, mixed drinks, or anything else. Boo hoo!!
The lesson here is to not choose foods that are going to keep you awake for several hours before bedtime. This is especially true for caffeine, which can stay in the system for hours and hours. Whether you have insomnia or not, those foods are liable to keep you awake. If you are struggling with sleep at all, then eating those foods or drinking those drinks will only exacerbate the problem. Don’t eat them and you will sleep better.
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