When it comes to food and sleep, we hear a lot about what we need to eat to promote good sleep but we don’t always hear about those foods and drinks that can actually keep us from getting the sleep we need. While there are some that are very obvious, like coffee, you may be surprised at the other things that may have you counting sheep rather than drifting off to sleep.
Not drinking coffee in the afternoon and evening is kind of a no-brainer if you are having trouble falling asleep. If you limit your intake and still have trouble falling asleep, try moving your last cup of the day to an earlier time.
You should probably skip the hot chocolate before bed time as well as the bowl of chocolate ice cream because chocolate contains an amino acid called tyrosine that actually stimulates brain activity. Make sure you can slip off to sleep by skipping chocolate snacks at night.
3. Energy and Soft Drinks
It is kind of amazing that we remember not to drink coffee but forget that some of these drinks have significantly more caffeine. To protect your sleep, skip these drinks entirely as their energy-boosting stimulating effects can last well past bedtime even if you drink them during the day.
This is a tricky one because the depressant effects of alcohol actually make us feel drowsy and therefore can trick us into thinking they will help use sleep. Unfortunately, despite making it easier to dose off, alcohol can still steal your sleep because it degrades the quality of the sleep you get no matter how many hours you sleep.
5. Smoked or Preserved Meat
If you are looking for a bedtime snack, skip the ham and the bacon. These kinds of meats contain another amino acid, called tyramine, that can also stimulate brain activity and keep you up long after you should be asleep. This chemical is also found in aged cheeses like parmesan and asiago.
6. Protein Packed Snacks
Foods that are high in protein like most meats take longer to digest which can leave you tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Give yourself the best chance to get a great night sleep by skipping protein-heavy snacks and big meals close to bedtime.
7. Acidic Fruits and Veggies
Fruit is good for you but if you eat fruits that are high in acid too close to bedtime you may be up with heartburn or indigestion. The same holds true for high-acid vegetable based foods like tomato sauce.
8. Spicy Foods
Foods full of spices may be delicious going down but if you eat them too close to bed time, they may be around longer than you expect. Our digestive systems slow down when we sleep which means spicy substances stick around longer increasing the chance of indigestion and heartburn that can keep you from getting a good night sleep.
9. Foods that are High in Fat
Eating foods with a high fat content like French fries and chips have been shown to disrupt sleep cycles. Safeguard your sleep by picking a healthier snack.