5 Foods to Avoid Before Bed

Just because a food is good for you doesn’t mean that you can eat it whenever you want. In fact, some of the healthiest foods can cause late night upset stomach, belly rumbling, gas, and acid reflux. Dinner is often the last meal of the day and for a lot of people this is also the most variable meal from one day to the next. This is why it is so important to ensure that your dinner can help induce sleep rather than reduce it.

Here are five foods to avoid before bed, and yes, you’ll probably be surprised.

Cruciferous Veggies

For many families, vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli,
and Brussel sprouts are the mainstay of dinner. While these vegetables are
considered some of the healthiest cancer-fighting veggies out there, they are
also high in nutrients and soluble fiber. Good, right? Well, yes and no. Insoluble fiber helps you go through
the bathroom easier but takes a long time to break down. This means, that while
you are trying to get shut eye, your body may keep you awake as it breaks down
your last meal of the day.

Tomato-based sauces

Tomato-based sauces are popular for any meal and for Americans one of the most reached for items in a pantry. These sauces range from hot sauces and salsa to the ever-popular pasta sauces. While they are delicious, they are doubly effective in keeping you awake. First, tomato-based sauces are highly acidic and for many people that means overnight heartburn and indigestion which can last till morning. Secondly, spicy sauces can both trigger histamines to flow through your body which produce energy and can raise your body’s core temperature.

Alcohol

Do you enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer before bed? Many people do because alcohol can actually induce sleep. However, just because it induces sleep doesn’t mean that you will have quality sleep. Alcohol is known to cause sleep disruption during the night, and directly affects your REM sleep cycle.

Turkey

We’ve
all grown up with the knowledge that tryptophan in turkey will make you tired.
Who hasn’t had that lethargic feeling during Thanksgiving? But the reality is that
your sleepiness on Thanksgiving is more likely due to overeating than
tryptophan. In fact, turkey is more likely to give you a jolt of energy as the
high level of protein triggers the brain to produce dopamine which gives you
energy. Red meats and chicken may have the same effect as turkey; however,
salmon is a good alternative as it is high in melatonin which induces sleep.

Fried Foods

Of all the foods on this list fried foods are likely the
most obvious, yet who hasn’t had a craving for a fatty, greasy, salt-sprinkled
batch of French fries at night? They taste great and that’s why we crave them.
Aside from the negative impact on our health, fried foods cycle through our
digestive system slower than proteins and carbs, which means that after
everything else has passed through, your body is still working to break down
and digest fried foods. Not what you need when you’re trying to say good night.

Dinner
is typically eaten a couple hours before bedtime, and even though many of these
foods are healthy, that doesn’t mean they won’t keep you awake with heartburn
or a slow path through your digestive system. Foods that are high in proteins,
fats, acidity, and soluble fiber should be avoided several hours before you
head to bed.