Insomnia can be caused by medication, anxiety or even a lack of routine, but the foods you eat in the hours leading up to bedtime can have an impact on your sleep as well. Some foods help promote restful sleep or better health – but the ones listed below will keep you up all night long. According to the AARP, you should avoid consuming these foods and beverages after 3pm if you are concerned about getting a good night's sleep.
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1. Tea and Soda: You know not to drink coffee, but both brewed tea and soft drinks can contain caffeine, often as much as a cup of coffee. Caffeine amounts vary, but many versions of these beverages contain caffeine – this stimulant will keep you alert and prevent you from drifting off to sleep. Look for "caffeine free" or choose herbal teas specifically designed for bedtime.
2. Grapefruit and Citrus: They're breakfast staples for a reason. Grapefruit and other citrus fruits are healthy but high in acid. This can lead to heartburn that will prevent you from sleeping comfortably. Grapefruit can also lower the effectiveness of medications you are taking – if you take a prescription or over the counter sleep medication, grapefruit could prevent it from working as expected.
3. Pizza and Spaghetti: The pasta or pizza crust is fine, but the tomatoes and topping are not only prone to giving you acid indigestion or reflux, they also contain energy boosters – that do not contribute to a healthy, restful sleep. Tomatoes contain tyramine, which gives you a boost of energy; this is great for lunchtime but not so good if you want to get a full night of rest. Eggplant, often paired with tomato sauce, also contains tyramine and results in the same restlessness at night.
4. Broccoli and Cauliflower: They are superfoods when it comes to your gut health, but these digest slowly and could result in gas pains at night, particularly if consumed raw. Stick to cooked versions with dinner or move the cruciferous veggies to lunch to avoid disrupting your sleep cycles. Celery and other high-fiber, chewy vegetables fit into this category as well.
5. Spicy Foods: From the smooth heat of Caribbean or Indian foods to plain old chips and salsa, the hot and spicy foods you enjoy are best consumed early in the day if you are troubled by heartburn. Anything with a spicy pepper sauce or spice blend can keep you up late if you end up with acid indigestion afterward.
6. Candy: From dark chocolate to sugary snacks like jelly beans, you'll get a burst of energy when you consume a sweet candy. This may help when you are trying to power through the day, but is not useful at night, when you want to go to sleep. Chocolate also contains caffeine, so that snack could keep you up later than you expect if you eat it close to bedtime.
Getting a good night's sleep means avoiding the foods above and checking the things you do eat or drink for typical insomnia culprits - -mainly sugar and caffeine. Once you are aware of the connection between what you eat and how well you sleep, you'll be able to make dining choices that promote healthy sleep and that do not keep you up at night.
Making the right night time food choices is a good start -- and a mattress that helps you drift off to sleep in comfort each night is an ideal next step. Contact us or visit our blog to learn more about getting a good night's sleep and to find an incredible selection of eco-friendly, green mattress options for your home and family.