It’s late at night. You’re dead tired. You lie down in bed and close your eyes, wanting to get a goodnight sleep. You toss and turn, take on all the sleeping positions you love, and count sheep in your head… only to find that more than an hour has passed and you’re still wide awake. What’s wrong with you?
Chances are, you probably ate something that’s keeping you up right before bedtime. If you don’t want to have insomnia come knocking into your bedroom, stay away from these 13 worst foods to eat at night. These are the kinds of foods that will prevent you from getting a shuteye and well-deserved rest.
Chocolate has caffeine though, especially dark chocolate. Caffeine is normally found in the cacao pods used to make chocolate. It is the same thing present in coffee which gives you that morning jolt. It also contains another stimulant – theobromine. Theobromine causes your heart to race and will make sleeping difficult. The one type of chocolate you can eat at night is white chocolate. It does not contain theobromine and has little to no caffeine.
2. Spicy food辣的食物
Digestion slows down during sleep. And because it takes extra effort for the body to digest spicy food, it will have a harder time doing so during sleep. It has also been suggested in some studies that eating spicy foods disrupts the sleep by causing nightmares. Avoid spicy meals at least two to three hours before going to bed.
It’s not surprising. Caffeine is specifically a central nervous system stimulant. It takes a total of 6 hours for your body to get rid of half the caffeine found in a cup of coffee. Drinking three 8 oz. cups of coffee in a day is deemed moderate but it is best that you avoid having a cup at least 12 hours before going to sleep.
4. Alcoholic beverages酒精饮料
Alcohol did enable healthy people to fall asleep faster and get deep sleep for some time. However, it reduces their rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the only phase during the sleep cycle when the body recovers and prepares itself for the waking part of the day. It is recommended to limit alcoholic beverage intake to 1 to 2 servings and to drink them 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. To ensure good sleep, it is best you avoid it.
5. Fatty food高脂肪食物
Scientists conducted a study at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center. They found that foods high in fat may decrease the quality of sleep in humans. They placed rats on a high fat diet for 8 weeks to investigate its effects on sleep, carefully monitoring their sleep-wake cycle and comparing them to rats which were maintained on their regular diet. Results revealed that the sleep cycle of rats which were on a high fat diet turned for the worst. While these rats slept for longer periods than those on regular diet, they had more fragmented sleep and had difficulty staying awake during the day.
6. Red meats红肉
Some foods like milk, peanut butter, and cheese contain healthy amounts of protein that promote a restful sleep. They are best taken with high-carbohydrate foods for an even better sleep. Red meats are rich in protein. While they are great for weight loss, they contain too much protein. If not paired with carbohydrates during a nighttime meal and when eaten in excess amounts, red meats and other high protein foods can prevent you from sleeping well. Unlike carbohydrates which are fairly easy to digest, the body has a hard time breaking down protein.
Cereals are typically eaten during breakfast but some folks enjoy making snacks out of them throughout the day. Pairing them with milk in the evening is said to promote sleep, especially since milk has some protein and tryptophan. But this sleep-inducing effect depends largely on what kind of cereal you are eating before going to bed. Majority of the cereals available in the market today have excess amounts of sugar.
The main reason why cereals are recommended for encouraging sleep is because it is a high-carbohydrate food. Carbohydrates are quite easy to digest so it doesn’t take much toll on your body during sleep. And because they are paired with milk, a food highly acclaimed for its benefits with regards to sleep, it is no wonder that some people would eat a bowl of cereal at night. Eating cereals rich in sugar unfortunately cancels these beneficial effects.
8. Vegetables and fruits蔬菜与水果
People say that vegetables are good for you. But this is not the case with some vegetables, especially when you’re trying to have a good night’s sleep.
Cauliflower and broccoli make nice examples for this. These vegetables contain tryptophan, the same amino acid present in proteins that regulates sleep. Tryptophan does this by assisting in the production of serotonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness. Unfortunately, cauliflower and broccoli are also high in roughage. The roughage makes them difficult to digest. If you eat these vegetables too close to sleeping time, you will still be able to get some shut eye. But your body will take time in digesting them, preventing it from relaxing completely.
Other vegetables that are high in fiber or roughage are bran, cabbage, leafy greens, celery, squash, beans, and white mushrooms. These are veggies you can freely enjoy throughout the day except at night. Some fruits like oranges and raspberries don’t make ideal bedtime snacks either.
We all know that sweets give you that jolt of energy called a “sugar rush”. It is exactly this which will prevent you from sleeping early in the evening, and could keep you up for up to hours depending on the amount of sugar you consumed. But then you experience the “sugar crash” where you are left feeling tired or drained. By the time you hit the sack, you will have less hours of sleep – not what you need if you want to feel fully rested in the morning.
10. Junk food垃圾食品
You’re craving. Junk foods come in many forms. There are candy bars, potato chips, and fast food for starters. But because they are typically high in fats or sugars, giving in to your craving is actually a bad idea.
Crazy, right? Drink too much water before bedtime you will curse yourself for the night to make several trips to the bathroom. You can keep yourself from drinking water at least 2 hours before bedtime.
12. Sodas 苏打水
Carbonated sodas are bad for sleep due to a couple of reasons. They are acidic, they contain copious amounts of sugar, they are considered to be ‘junk foods’, and they have caffeine.