The importance of good sleep for our immune system and overall well-being cannot be overstated. Insomnia or restless sleep might make you feel unable to function during the day. This might be a minor annoyance for those who do not frequently experience this issue, but for individuals who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, it can have a long-term harmful impact on their physical and mental health.
A good night’s sleep should wake you up refreshed and ready to conquer the day. So if this is not the case for you, you might want to be more careful with your diet and check if you regularly consume one of these items before bedtime. This might be the problem for which you have trouble going to sleep and wake up feeling exhausted.
It’s almost bedtime and cravings are hitting you like a bus. What shouldn’t you eat? Here is a list of things you shouldn’t consume late at night since they might have some repercussions that you didn’t expect.
1. Spicy foods
Spicy foods increase acidity in the stomach and if you have a weak stomach valve, acid can go up the esophagus when you stay in bed. This sensation is also known as heartburn, and can become extremely painful in the chest area and will keep you up all night. Some specialty spices are known to contain glutamate, an amino acid that stimulates the brain and makes your body feel alert.
Many studies have shown that spicy condiments like tabasco, mustard, or chili have a negative effect on your sleeping patterns. After consuming these items, you are likely to have a hard time going to sleep and ultimately sleep less and not as deeply. So, you should avoid spicy foods before bedtime at all costs.
A cup of hot chocolate and a cookie before bed sounds like the perfect comforting snack to end the day with, but in reality, you’re only harming your sleeping patterns. The caffeine in the chocolate doesn’t let your body reach that deep sleep that it needs. Even though chocolate does not have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, it’s still enough to ruin your good night’s sleep.
Dark chocolate especially has a higher amount of caffeine than milk chocolate, so if you truly enjoy this type of treat, make sure you consume it in the morning for a boost of energy and better focus. Instead, you might want to try this decaffeinated chocolate black tea to avoid restless nights.
The most obvious enemy of a good night’s sleep is coffee. That cup of coffee you drank with your coworkers after work will keep you awake for longer than you think. The effects might even follow you throughout the next day. Caffeine withdrawal is a real thing and can cause anxiety, headaches, or even concentration issues.
Each cell in the human body has its own circadian rhythm. The biological clock hums in the background, and as the sun sets and daylight decreases, your body is preparing for bedtime. Coffee appears to alter the functioning of your body’s internal clock when consumed a few hours before going to bed.
Although the effects of coffee wear off in 4 to 6 hours, everyone is different, and this does not mean your body is ready to release melatonin, which is necessary for a good night’s sleep. So check the time before drinking a cup of coffee, especially if you have something important to do the next day.
It’s a popular misconception that drinking a lot of alcohol can help you have a longer and deeper sleep. While alcohol makes you sleepy and sluggish, it does not help you have a more refreshing sleep. Alcohol can cause dehydration and interfere with sleep’s restorative capabilities.
Because alcohol metabolizes fast, you’ll find yourself waking up often when it wears off. Pre-bedtime alcohol has been shown in studies to diminish nocturnal sleep and increase overnight wakefulness. As an extra disadvantage, it worsens snoring, so keep that nightcap away from your companion, as well as yourself. Dehydration can even wake you up in the middle of the night and make you stay awake till dawn.
Otherwise, the bags under your eyes will remind you the next day that alcohol is one of the worst things to consume before going to bed. And if you already have trouble sleeping, alcohol might not be your best friend.
Carbonated beverages include either sugar or artificial sweeteners, which together weaken the immune system, which needs to rebuild itself at night. Some sweeteners also stimulate brain regions that should be relaxing and getting ready to sleep. The drink’s acidity has an adverse impact on the stomach, and the gas might induce bloating.
To make matters worse, many beverages include coffee or other stimulants, which make it much more difficult to relax and sleep. Because soda has little nutritional value, you should avoid it completely, lowering the chances that you will have to wake up in the middle of the night to flush its harmful toxins.
6. Fat Foods
It might sound obvious, but if you want to lose some weight, you shouldn’t eat foods high in fat before bedtime. These take longer to digest, which means that your body won’t have enough time to burn off the calories, so they will be stored as fat. And nobody wants that, right?
The fat content of that late-night burger and fries is surely affecting your sleep. Because fatty foods take longer and are more difficult to digest, you may find yourself attempting to fall asleep while your digestive system is still working. Bloating from high-fat meals doesn’t help matters, either. So take a pass on those pre-bedtime nachos… and, yes, most types of pizza are also off the menu here.
Isn’t it surprising that fruits are on this list?
Many people might think that fruits are a good item to consume right before bedtime, and I’m not arguing that a little portion of fruit is harmless. Too much fruit, on the other hand, has a lot of sugar, which can create gas since the sugar ferments on top of anything else in your intestines. It’s difficult to digest and can be excruciatingly uncomfortable.
Try eating a tiny portion of your favorite fruit to observe how you react. It’s not a good idea to consume more than a cup of fruit before going to bed.
One of the best bedtime snacks is a bowl of Greek yogurt with some frozen fruit. I promise you that this snack will overcome your cravings. You can also add some nuts, cinnamon, or honey if you want to.
Meat should not be consumed before going to bed since it takes longer to digest. Red meat, especially processed beef, is a particularly terrible late-night snack. The problem is that red meat is high in lipids and proteins, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it keeps the body busy breaking them down all night, producing pain and cramps.
Eat nutritious evening snacks to avoid a night of tossing and turning and to keep your systems in check. Because red meat has a stronger insulin response and can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes, it’s best to avoid it in the evening. Instead, a hard-boiled egg might be a better option. But if you still want to eat meat before bedtime, say goodbye to your beloved sleep.
9. Nut butter
Many people may not consider nut butters (almond, peanut butter, and so on) to be a threat to their diet, but these products can be your worst enemy if you’re trying to lose weight and tend to consume them before bedtime. Even though many studies demonstrate that peanut butter can help you lose weight, others show that it might actually make you gain weight.
Peanut butter can seem like the best late-night snack, and can even become an unhealthy habit. So don’t grab the nut butter if you’re hungry late at night. A large glass of unsweetened almond milk can be the best thing to calm down your cravings without the risk of ruining your diet. Almond milk is high in calcium, which can help you lose weight, soothe your nerves, and sleep better.
If you still can not abandon the tasty snack, make sure you consume it in moderation and find alternatives that are just as fulfilling. Maybe you can find fun ways to spice up that boring ole’ almond milk. Some cinnamon or other spices might do the trick.
Don’t be hard on yourself if it happens that you eat one of these foods before bedtime, but make sure not to make it a habit since your overall health and sleeping patterns are at risk. Of course, if you decide to consume them, remember to eat everything in moderation.
What’s your favorite guilty treat before bedtime? Share it in the comment section below!
And if you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in: Eat These 9 Foods to Reduce Inflammation in the Body!