People are waking up to the importance of sleep as a crucial pillar of overall health, recognizing it for being as vital as diet and exercise for overall well-being. Many are now making sleep a priority, investing in better habits and environments to ensure a restful night and that includes the food you eat at night.

Ever had a snack before bed only to spend the night tossing and turning? Turns out, some foods can seriously mess with your sleep. These foods are some of the top 10 culprits that are best avoided if you’re aiming for a good night’s rest. So, before you reach for that midnight snack, keep reading to see what’s better off avoided.

Woman appearing unwell, lying in bed and covering her mouth after eating some of the worst foods to eat before bed.
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Chocolate

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Chocolate is a sneaky sleep saboteur, packed with caffeine and sugar that can keep you tossing and turning. Its stimulant effects disrupt your natural sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. Opt for a warm, caffeine-free drink like herbal tea if you need a pre-bedtime treat.

Chips

A bag of potato chips sitting on a white surface.
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Crunching on chips before bed can lead to a restless night, thanks to their high fat content slowing down digestion and potentially causing discomfort. Plus, the salt can lead to dehydration and frequent bathroom trips. It’s even been said salty foods can lead to nightmares due to the increased REM sleep it can induce. Try a handful of unsalted nuts or seeds for a less disruptive snack.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes, while healthy, are acidic and can lead to heartburn and indigestion when eaten before sleep for those prone to it. If you’re hungry before bed, choose something less acidic like a banana or a small serving of oatmeal.

Spicy Foods

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Mango Chicken Skillet. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Spicy foods can be a recipe for heartburn and indigestion, making it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. The capsaicin that makes food spicy can also raise body temperature, further disrupting sleep. A light, non-spicy snack is a better option for nighttime nibbling.

Dried Fruit

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Dried fruit might seem like a healthy bedtime snack, but its high sugar content can lead to spikes in energy, keeping you awake. Additionally, it can cause bloating and discomfort due to the fiber. Choosing fresh fruit with lower sugar content like berries can satisfy your sweet tooth more gently.

Alcohol

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Alcohol might help you doze off faster, but it greatly reduces sleep quality, leading to frequent awakenings and less REM sleep. It can also dehydrate you, increasing the chances of a headache.

Sugary Cereals

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A bowl of sugary cereal before bed can spike your blood sugar levels, giving you a burst of energy when you least want it. This can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent deep, restorative sleep – the most important kind. Opt for a small bowl of whole grain cereal with low sugar instead for a steadier energy release if you need something late at night.

Water

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While staying hydrated is crucial, guzzling water right before bed can lead to disruptive bathroom trips throughout the night. It’s best to balance your fluid intake throughout the day and reduce it before bedtime. A small sip to quench your thirst is okay, but don’t overdo it.

High Fiber Fruits and Vegetables

Assorted healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, and oats, displayed on a wooden surface, are the worst foods to eat before bed.
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High fiber foods are great for digestion but eating them in large amounts before bed can lead to discomfort and bloating, making it hard to settle down for a good night’s sleep.

Ice Cream

A scoop of chocolate ice cream with a black spatula.
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That late-night scoop of ice cream is a double trouble of sugar and fat, leading to energy spikes and slow digestion, both of which can disturb your sleep. If you crave something sweet, a small serving of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey is a better bet for satisfying that sweet tooth.

11 Simple Snacks for Better Blood Sugar Control

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Keeping your blood sugar in check doesn’t mean you have to skimp on snacking. In fact, the right snacks can be your secret weapon in maintaining those levels while still satisfying those mid-day cravings. Pairing up the good stuff—fiber, proteins, and healthy fats—can help to keep blood sugar steady. These snack ideas are as delicious as they are smart for your health.

See Them Here: 11 Simple Snacks for Better Blood Sugar Control

Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

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Navigating the world of food sensitivities can feel like walking through a minefield, especially when lectins are the culprits. You might have heard that these protein-packed particles can wreak havoc on sensitive stomachs, but figuring out where they’re hiding is another story. We’re breaking down some of the foods that are lectin landmines for those with sensitivities. Grab a notepad, because you’re going to want to remember these tips next time you’re grocery shopping or planning a meal.

See Them Here: Avoid these 11 Foods If You’re Sensitive to Lectins

10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

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Diving into a bag of crunchy raw carrots or whipping up a smoothie with butternut squash and spinach? Go for it! But beware, the culinary world has its rogues. Some foods play hardball with your stomach or sneak in toxins that could turn your mealtime into a risky affair. It’s all about knowing who’s who in the raw food lineup.

See Them here: 10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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