Foods That Keep You Awake: What Not To Eat Before Bed
While it’s certainly tempting to indulge in a late-night snack, it’s important to be careful with what you eat before bedtime. Certain foods will keep you from getting the sleep you need, whether by triggering a spike in energy levels or causing heartburn that leaves you lying awake. Keep reading, and we’ll tell you which types of food to avoid before you turn down the lights.
1. Spicy foods
It may not be your first instinct to enjoy a hot-sauce-laced pile of nachos before bed, but some folks simply yearn for a kick. Unfortunately, spicy foods are common triggers for gastric reflux. This can lead to heartburn and prevent you from dozing off for hours on end.
2. Greasy foods
Like spicy dishes, greasy foods offer a uniquely delicious appeal that many find hard to resist. And like spicy foods, these tasty favorites can cause heartburn by increasing your stomach’s production of acid. Plus, the food within that delectable fried coating might amplify this already unpleasant effect – onions, for example, can activate acid reflux even when consumed raw.
A small chunk of dark chocolate before crawling into bed sounds like a soothing way to end a rough day, doesn’t it? Think again – though you’re probably aware that chocolate contains caffeine, you might not know that darker chocolate means more of it. And depending on just how dark your chocolate gets, a bar may contain the same amount of caffeine as an energy drink, which is a surefire recipe for a restless night.
4. Protein-rich meals
If you’re eager to enjoy a steak or a pork chop, make sure you do so well before you retire to your bedroom. High-protein foods can be quite difficult to digest, and the added work your stomach has to put in will take the form of internal discomfort that might prevent you from falling asleep.
5. Sugary foods
It’s a common notion that small children should avoid sugary foods, lest they become even more energetic than usual. And this notion isn’t misplaced – sweet foods can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. This will result in energy that you simply don’t need followed by restless sleep until morning comes.
6. Foods containing tyramine
Fermented goodies – think yogurt, aged cheese and the like – contain an amino acid called tyramine. Doctors often recommend that patients suffering from migraines avoid tyramine, as it’s known to stimulate certain brain activity that might lead to these relentless headaches. This increased brain activity can also keep you awake for much longer than you’d like to be.
This go-to snack is tremendously popular late-night fare, as shown by the late hours kept by most pizzerias. It also contains a significant amount of acid (in the tomato sauce) and fat (in the cheese) that can not only keep you from securing your beauty sleep, but leave you feeling drained the next day, too.
How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
While many of these treats might be tough to avoid, there are plenty of delicious replacements. Cherries are known to bolster the production of melatonin, which is an essential hormone that assists in controlling your sleep cycle. Walnuts contain melatonin, too, along with tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes serotonin/melatonin production within your body. Not a fan of walnuts? Consider munching on some almonds, which are rich in magnesium, a mineral that has been linked to restful sleep.
If you've cleaned up your nighttime eating habits and are still struggling to get enough sleep, it may be time to consider a new mattress. Your mattress selection should be precisely suited to your sleeping style and comfort preferences, and if it's not, falling asleep (whether you've indulged in a sleep-thwarting snack or not) will be much harder than it should be. Browse a diverse selection of mattresses to find the option that's sure to have you drifting off peacefully in no time.