Food and sleep are two of the most important factors that help to maintain our health and energy. Most foods are good for the body and they contribute to our overall well-being. But some of them are not ideal for eating especially before our sleeping times because they can interfere with our sleeping patterns.
With that in mind, you are probably wondering what foods keep you awake at night. As we all know, improving sleep quality is one of the most important aspects of our life. That way, we can replenish our energy to stay focused and alert throughout the day.
Life becomes a nightmare especially if you can’t sleep when you know that you are tired from work. With that in mind, it is a must to avoid many foods that have a negative impact on your sleep. Unfortunately, some of these are everyone’s favorite snacks — especially when watching movies at night.
Here are some of the foods that you should avoid before sleeping:
1. Preserved, Smoked Meats and other processed foods
Do not even think of eating a ham sandwich when you go out for an evening snack. Preserved meats like ham, bacon, sausage and smoked meats are loaded with high levels of tyramine, an amino acid that stimulates the brain to release norepinephrine. It is a substance that can keep you awake and alert even if you are lying in bed.
Eating these fatty foods that keep you awake should be avoided before sleep, as they have a high saturated fat content and can be difficult to digest. This can cause indigestion, and heartburn, and could even lead to disrupted sleep.
Additionally, these foods contain preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites that are linked to an increased risk of cancer. Eating these meats late at night can also make it harder for the body to cool down before bedtime which in turn causes sleep disturbances.
Most importantly, these meats may also increase hunger levels due to their salty content, which could lead to overeating or snacking in the middle of the night. To promote quality sleep, it is best to avoid eating preserved and smoked meats before bedtime.
2. Chocolate and sugary foods
Chocolate is a delicious treat and can be enjoyed any time of the day, however, it is not advisable to consume it right before bedtime. Chocolate contains caffeine which can keep you up at night, as well as other stimulants like theobromine which can cause an increase in heart rate and alertness.
Additionally, chocolate also contains sugar which can lead to increased energy levels making it difficult to drift off into a peaceful sleep. Eating chocolate late at night can also lead to indigestion and heartburn due to its high-fat content. Therefore, it is better to avoid consuming chocolate before sleeping in order to ensure that your body has enough time to rest and relax before bedtime.
Chocolates are good especially when you need to get a boost in your mood and energy, and it can keep you awake and alert for long periods. They contain caffeine, a stimulant that keeps your mind alert and drives drowsiness away. Chocolates, however, can be of help especially when you plan to stay up late into the night because you have a project to finish or you are studying for an upcoming examination.
3. Energy drinks
Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar, which can cause restlessness and difficulty sleeping. Thus, resulting in poor sleep making it difficult for you to work properly the next day.
Drinking energy drinks like Red Bull and Lipovitan contain caffeine and the amino acid taurine. These are stimulants that boost alertness and adrenaline rush. You should avoid taking energy drinks because they can affect your sleep even if their energy-boosting action is long gone from your body.
Consuming energy drinks before going to sleep can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult for the body to relax. The sugar content in energy drinks can affect blood sugar levels which can disrupt sleep.
Furthermore, energy drinks can also interfere with hormones related to sleep such as melatonin and cortisol. If you are having difficulty sleeping, avoiding energy drinks is a good way to help improve your sleep pattern. Instead, try relaxation techniques or a warm bath before bedtime to help you drift off into a peaceful night’s rest.
4. Tomato Sauce, Chili, Pizza, and Spicy Foods
These are acidic or spicy foods that can interfere with your sleeping patterns. Spicy foods may cause changes in your digestive activity. They can also trigger acid reflux, gas pains, heartburn and other hyperacidity symptoms that can bother you when you try to sleep.
Generally, it is not recommended to eat spicy foods before bedtime as they can cause indigestion and disrupt sleep. Spicy food often contains ingredients that are hard to digest, such as garlic and peppers, which can lead to heartburn and other digestive issues.
Additionally, spicy food can raise the body temperature, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Spicy foods also tend to have a stronger smell than other foods and this smell can linger in your bedroom, making it harder to relax and drift off. It is best to avoid eating spicy food directly before bedtime if you want a restful sleep.
5. Alcoholic Drinks
Alcoholic drinks should be avoided before sleep, as they can cause a number of problems. Alcohol is a depressant and can make it difficult to fall asleep, or stay asleep throughout the night. This beverage is rich in tyrosine, a stimulant that keeps your brain awake even if you look sleepy.
It can also interfere with the quality of sleep you get, making it harder to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed. Drinking alcohol late at night may also lead to disturbed breathing patterns during sleep, including snoring and gasping for breath.
Furthermore, too much alcohol consumption late at night can lead to dehydration, as well as increase your chances of having nightmares. A dry throat and extreme thirst are common signs of dehydration. This can compel you to rise in the middle of the night to drink plenty of cold water.
In addition, drinking too close to bedtime can lead to hangovers in the morning which will leave you feeling groggy and lethargic all day long. So, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed in order to ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep and wake up feeling energized and ready for the day ahead.
Taking a few shots after dinner may be a good way to relax before hitting the sack, but it can prevent you from achieving deep sleep because it can dehydrate you. It can also interrupt your sleep at night because of an urgent desire to urinate.
These are some of the foods that can keep you up at night and have an impact on your sleep. Always keep them in mind to promote restful sleep
Still find yourself awake at night? Here’s why Eating Before Bed Bad for You.
Eating before bed is not necessarily bad for you, as long as it is done in moderation. Eating right before bed may cause indigestion and discomfort, but if you eat at least an hour or two before you go to sleep, then it should not be a problem.
It is recommended that you eat a light snack before bed can actually help you feel relaxed and drowsy. However, eating a large meal or unhealthy snacks right before bed could lead to weight gain due to the body not having enough time to metabolize the food properly.
Therefore, it is important to choose healthy snacks that are low in sugar and fat when eating before bed. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding foods that are high in sodium or caffeine can help improve your digestion and reduce any unwanted bloating or indigestion after eating.
Foods that may get you quality sleep at bedtime
If you are looking to improve your quality of sleep, there are a variety of foods that you can eat. Foods high in magnesium and calcium, such as:
- leafy greens
These foods may help relax muscles and promote overall relaxation. Eating complex carbohydrates like whole grains and sweet potatoes can provide your body with long-lasting energy throughout the night.
Additionally, consuming foods rich in tryptophan, such as turkey or bananas, can increase the production of serotonin to induce relaxation. Avoid eating large meals before bedtime or sugary snacks that will give you a quick burst of energy followed by an inevitable crash later on.
Eating these types of foods for better sleep will not only help you fall asleep faster but also increase the quality of your sleep.
Better sleep for better mornings!
Sleep is a vital part of our everyday life. It’s hard to imagine getting through a whole day at work without a single minute of sleep. And after a day at work, a lot of people rely on food to destress and relax. However, these foods can also make a good night’s sleep shy away.
Among these foods that may negatively affect sleep includes preserved meats, alcoholic drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and spicy foods. Many of these foods are great snacks to eat but it is still best that you aim to eat healthy foods at the right time. Eating balanced and healthy meals can keep you fuller longer and suppress your cravings to prevent poor sleep quality.
With this practice, you are guaranteed to avoid the negative effects of sleep these foods may cause and significantly improve your total sleep time. To find out more energizing tips for a healthier lifestyle, visit our food blog post on how to avoid sleep issues by eating healthy meals.