There are plenty of things that you can snack on before bed to achieve a more restful sleep, but what about the things you’re munching on in the evening that are sabotaging your night? The fact is, just like there are foods that can help you sleep better, there are conversely those will throw off your sleep if you enjoy them a little too close to bedtime (ugh, as if we really needed one more potential sleep deterrent in our lives). Make sure that you’re not destroying your sleep with your right-before-bed diet by steering clear of these sleep-sabotaging eats before hitting the hay.
We’re as partial to the idea of late night fries or ice cream as the next person, but the unfortunate reality is that indulging in high-fat foods too close to bedtime can seriously wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. This is because your body isn’t particularly great at digesting fat quickly, and so you’ll likely suffer from wakefulness or, at the very least, poor quality rest as your body remains active in order to digest everything.
Unlike fatty foods that take too long to digest, sugar-ridden cereal poses the opposite effect: it digests pretty quickly. Good, right? Not really. While your body might not be kept awake by the need to digest your food, you will experience a significant spike in your blood sugar, which in turn can seriously throw off your sleep hormones.
We’re not ones to turn down a little heat in our meals, but when it comes to picking things to snack on right before bed, you’ll want to avoid anything too spicy. This is because in addition to firing up your tastebuds, spicy foods can cause serious stomach irritation, which in turn makes it tougher for you to doze off. And this is especially true if you’re someone that’s already pretty prone to heartburn. Moral of the story: save the habaneros for lunch.
Obviously, drinking too much before bed – fruit juice or otherwise – isn’t the best idea since it will likely mean having to make a couple trips to the bathroom, all of which will disturb your sleep. But fruit juice specifically – especially varieties like orange juice or grapefruit juice – tend to be pretty acidic, which can lead to heartburn or disrupt your body if you suffer from reflux. Fruit juice is also high in sugar without the benefit of being rich in fiber, as is the case with a lot of fruits themselves. That means that while an apple, for example, gives you a lot of sugar, its fiber also helps you digest that sugar faster. Fruit juice, on the other hand, has no fiber to help control the release of insulin, which ultimately makes your blood sugar spike.
Everybody likes a little nightcap at the end of a long day, but knowing that your pre-bed booze could be throwing of your sleep might make you rethink the evening habit. The problem with sipping on something like red wine before bed is that many people make the mistake of thinking it’s a safe bet because it actually makes you a little bit sleepy. And sure, wine has the power to make you want to doze off in the short term. But alcohol can actually cause disturbances during the second half of sleep, meaning that it may cut into your deeper, REM rest, which your body needs to recover from the day.