Can’t Sleep? Avoid These 17 Foods That Keep You Up at Night

Can’t Sleep? Avoid These 17 Foods That Keep You Up at Night

You could be the picture of perfection when it comes to eating early in the evening, not watching TV all night on the couch, and even curling up in an ideal 68-degree, batcave-like bedroom. Heck, you may not even have any to-do’s or anxieties scratching at your brain as you lay awake at night. So, why can’t you sleep?!

It’s not just late-night munching and blue light from your devices’ screens that can sabotage your sleep cycle. As it turns out, what you nosh on can play a big role in how well you hit the hay. If you can’t sleep and can’t figure out why, look no farther than your diet. Read on to find out which sneaky foods can ruin a restorative night rest; the last one will shock you!

1 Chocolate
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that chocolate treat after dinner isn’t doing your REM any favors. “As a nutritionist who also struggles with falling and staying asleep, I know firsthand what can wreak havoc on our sleep cycle,” shares Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities. “Chocolate is a hidden source of caffeine. That means taking a forkful of your favorite souffle or chocolate ice cream may be the very thing keeping you up. The caffeine in chocolate causes increased arousal, and decreases the ability to develop and sustain the deeper stages of sleep.”

2 Alcohol
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You probably know white wine can sometimes cause heartburn, but it’s not the only beverage to blame for not being able to sleep. “Alcohol in general relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which normally works to keep the acid down in the stomach,” Hayim explains. “As it relaxes, the acid from the alcohol can enter into your throat, giving you that burning feeling deep in your chest.”

Mitzi Dulan, RD, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin and team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals adds: “Research shows that drinking alcohol before bed can make you more likely to wake up throughout the night and diminishes quality of sleep. We also know alcohol can lead to snoring since it is a potent muscle relaxer.” For a little motivation to cut back on the booze, check out these amazing benefits of giving up alcohol!

3 Fatty Foods
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Think: Loaded burritos, ice cream sundaes, fried chicken. “These high-fat foods take longer to digest, and often cause bloating and indigestion that interfere with a sound night’s rest,” offer The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure.

4 Dried Fruit
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Consuming too much dried fruit can bother your stomach and cause you to have gas and cramps during the night, according to nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, MS, RDN. “This is thanks to their high-fiber, low-water content.” Come morning, don’t eat ’em, either. They’re one of the top foods nutritionists wish you would stop adding to your overnight oats.

5 Hot Peppers & Spicy Foods
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“I love recommending hot peppers as an easy way to boost metabolism, but consuming them late in the evening can trigger heartburn in sensitive individuals,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. “Also, their thermogenic properties can increase the body’s core temperature.” Since your core temperature naturally decreases as you get ready to sleep, raising it can cause you to feel more awake and struggle with staying asleep. So keep the hot and spicy options for your healthy breakfast ideas.

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