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Food Affects Sleep: Bedtime Foods to Avoid

Just as the right warm drink can help soothe the nerves before bed on a cold winter night, the wrong food or drink can keep you tossing and turning or unable to fall asleep for the rest of the night. Because of the significant effects of food on sleep quality, it’s important to be mindful of what you’re eating before you go to sleep.

Highlighted below are the top foods you should avoid before going to bed. If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, consider whether you consume these foods before bed and try avoiding them at night in an effort to improve your sleep quality.

food affects sleep Spice Is Nice, During the Day

Spicy foods are great, no question about it. That being said, it shouldn't surprise anyone that spicy foods can cause a bit of stomach discomfort or irritation that makes it more difficult to sleep at night.

In other words, save the hot sauce for launch, but keep spice levels at a minimum from dinnertime on to prevent them from negatively affecting your sleep. 1

Alcohol Doesn't Help food affects sleep

Who hasn't been guilty of drinking favorite beer or glass of wine at night to wind down? While alcohol can be a depressant and make you tired and more likely to slip into sleep, the problem is that it prevents deep sleep. 2

The best sleep happens in cycles. You fall into a shallow sleep, then a deep sleep. During that deep sleep, your body recovers, your mind dreams, and then you hit shallow sleep again at the end of the cycle.

That alcohol drowsiness we've all felt at one time or another is great for encouraging shallow sleep but actually interferes with the body's deep sleep, taking away many of the mental and physical healing benefits this stage provides.

food affects sleep Be Wary of Sweets

Many people confess to loving a bit of dark chocolate before bed, and while that’s certainly an understandable choice, be wary of eating anything sweet before bed. This can get the heart rate going and boost energy levels, which might not be the best option when you’re trying to wind down at the end of the night. 3

Red Meat & Turkey

This is a bit of a weird grouping, especially with all those Thanksgiving dinner myths, but red meat in general, and turkey on the white meat side can both cause hormonal changes in the body that make it harder for some people to sleep.

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Other foods that should be avoided at night include garlic, soda, coffee, fried foods, dried fruit, candy bars, or other junk food.


Paying attention to what you eat for that late night snack or even for dinner can be a great way to help boost your sleep quality. No matter how much you might be craving something, if it's going to mess with your sleep cycle, it's something that can wait until tomorrow. Sweet dreams!

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