There are foods that promote sleep as mentioned in our previous article and then there are foods that rob you from you of your sleep. Please see below of list of foods to avoid if you’re looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
- Foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, or even energy drinks like Monster or Red Bull can really help you if you’re feeling tired and just need a little pick-me-up to get the day going. However, it’s not recommended to drink caffeine after lunch (and especially near bedtime), as it can interfere with sleep by keeping your mind overactive. Foods with dark chocolate are also high in caffeine and should be avoided late in the day.
- Spicy foods. While spicy foods are often delicious and even have many noted health benefits, eating spicy foods too close to bedtime can be a very bad idea. Spicy foods are notorious for causing heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Heartburn can be made worse while lying down as it allows the acids to creep up into the esophagus and burn the sensitive lining.
- Alcohol. Contrary to popular belief alcohol does not help promote sleep. While it can make you drowsy and more likely to fall asleep faster, it often disrupts sleep and can deter you from entering the deeper, much needed phases of the sleep cycles.
- Foods high in fat have been linked to poor, fragmented sleep. Fat triggers the digestive processes and causes a buildup of stomach acids, which while lying down can creep into the esophagus causing discomfort. A high fat diet also messes with the production of orexin, one of the neurotransmitters that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle along with melatonin.
- Foods high in protein can also disrupt sleep when eaten too close to bedtime. Protein is tougher for the digestive system to break down. Eating protein rich meals near bedtime causes the body to spend more time working on digestion rather than focusing on sleeping.
- Foods containing water such as watermelon and celery are natural diuretics which help push water through your system. Eating these types of foods and drinking anything too close to bedtime can cause you to lose sleep from middle of the night bathroom trips.
- Heavy meals before bedtime. As with most things in life, moderation is the key. Even eating too much of the recommended foods before bed can cause you to lose sleep because your body is focused on digestion. If you find yourself hungry before bed, a light snack is recommended. The best light snacks are those that contain tryptophan and calcium such as a bowl of cereal, cheese and crackers, or peanut butter on toast.
Almost all of the above-mentioned foods are not allowed whiles on our weight loss program as they are either high in fat, sugar or caffeine. You can however have spicy food and coffee whiles on our program but not close to bed time as this can affect your sleep and ultimately affect your weight loss results as too little sleep will have a negative effect on your weight loss efforts.