We have all had late night cravings before. That feeling when you just want to eat anything put in front of you. While we may be satisfied with ourselves at the moment after we fulfilled our cravings, we are still causing harmful effects to our health and affecting how we sleep at night. Now, this is not to say that you cannot eat anything before bed. However, there are certain foods you should stay away from if you are preparing to go to sleep shortly after. Here are some of the many foods that you should absolutely avoid before going to bed.
Fried foods are probably the most common culprit for late night cravings. Unfortunately, as tasty as those fries may be, the negative effects might not be worth it. Greasy foods pass through your system much slower than protein and carbs meaning your body will still be working hard to break them down as you are trying to fall asleep. According to Richard Shane, Ph.D., “you don’t want the engine of the digestive system cranking away when the rest of your body is trying to go to sleep.” So, with that in mind, your best bet, if you want to get the most out of your night’s rest is to stay away from those greasy and fatty foods.
There are two reasons you want to avoid spicy foods before bed, and they are twofold. First and foremost, spicy foods like hot sauce can irritate the stomach causing heartburn which can make it hard to get ready for sleep. W Christopher Winter, MD, says that the interaction creates a passage for histamines to release into your body. Now, while anti-histamines make you sleepy, histamines actually promote wakefulness.
Despite the things you’ve heard about how the tryptophan in turkey was making you sleepy on Thanksgiving, the truth is, your food coma is caused by the massive portions of food you consumed. Turkey, in fact, might keep you awake on any other day. The proteins in turkey signal the brain to produce dopamine which is the “motivation molecule” that gives you energy. So, you will be better off avoiding chicken and steak as you approach your bedtime. However, if you still want to get your protein fix, look towards game meat and salmon which are higher in melatonin which can help you fall asleep better.
This one should be no surprise to anyone, but it is important to keep in mind the time frame before bed that you should cut off your consumption of the beverage. According to Dr. Richard Shane, “with caffeine, the general rule in the sleep field is no later than early afternoon.” Anything after that time should be decaf or half-caffeine.