Sleepy Time No-Nos: 4 Worst Foods To Eat Before Bed

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young beauty woman eating dessert under cover on white background

Aside from the daily stressors in life, there’s one big thing that can keep you from snoozing — your diet.

If you’re hankering for a bedtime snack or beverage and you tend to eat before bed, don’t just grab the first thing that sounds good before bed. Here are 4 things to stay away from if you expect to have a good night’s sleep:

  • Alcohol:  While initially alcohol can make us feel sleepy, after the alcohol has been metabolized it can become a stimulant in the brain causing us to have much less restful sleep.  This is in part because alcohol interrupts the cycle of sleep, bypassing the REM state where we get our most restful part of sleep.  Additionally, alcohol also raises our blood pressure, which contributes to sleep apnea.
  •  Foods that make us have to peeCertain fruits/veggies (especially those high in potassium) are natural diuretics.  These include foods like citrus fruits and juices (such as lemon juice), asparagus, beets, leafy greens (like spinach) and even cilantro and parsley.  So eating these close to bedtime might end up making you wake up in the night to pee!
  • Spicy FoodsThese kinds of foods can cause indigestion and acid reflux.  Moreover, as our bodies reject the spicy foods – foods may be moved too quickly through our digestive systems leading to us waking up at night in a rush to the bathroom.
  •  Foods/Beverages high in caffeineNo surprise here – coffee, teas, energy drinks are all high in caffeine.  Coffee in particular has a 1/2 half life of 8 hours.  So that cup you had at 8am, at 4 in the afternoon you still have 50% of the caffeine racing through your system. Having a second cup around noon means that when you go to bed at 8pm, while you’ve processed the first cup of coffee, you’ll have 50% of caffeine still there from the 2nd cup!  When we’re trying to slow down and relax, the last thing we need is a stimulant racing through our system.

Written by Rebecca Lewis

Rebecca Lewis

Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist & Nutrition Manager, HelloFresh

It is her mission to change the world by empowering people to take control of their health. Her passion lies in getting people back into the kitchen, reconnecting them with fresh foods, and rebuilding their confidence in having FUN with cooking.

When she thinks of cooking and eating, the image that immediately comes to mind is the comfortable and intimate nature of sharing a meal between friends and family. We are all busy in our daily lives, but taking a small portion of the day to slow down and focus on a basic need like food – sustains us more than just nutritionally. Food has the power to connect us to our bodies, our emotional drives, other people, and even nature itself.

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