Many factors in our lives influence the amount and quality of sleep we get. Stress, work schedules, and even your diet can play a role in the quality of sleep you get and for how long you stay asleep.
While this may not seem concerning, our sleep can affect other areas of our health, outside of our daily activities. Having around eight hours of sleep is essential to having a productive day, but it can also be tied to certain health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease.
If you want to ensure that you are getting good sleep to have an even better day, it is best you stay away from these foods that can keep you up at all hours.
Caffeinated foods and beverages
Of course, caffeine is always a given when it comes to ensuring a good night’s sleep. Coffee and other caffeinated teas and beverages are essential morning and daytime staples to get through the day, and of course, there will be times where we may need an extra caffeine boost when staying up late. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that can keep you energized and awake, which can negatively impact your sleep schedule. In reality, studies suggest that drinking coffee, even many hours before night, can interfere with sleep. A small study that surveyed 12 adults in 2013 discovered that taking 400 mg of caffeine before bedtime, as well as 3 and 6 hours before bed, severely disturbed sleep. If you are sensitive to caffeine, try abstaining from these foods at least a few hours before bedtime:
- Green and black teas
- Coffee, and even decaf coffee (in some quantities)
- Energy drinks
- Yerba mate
Although it may seem unlikely, spicy foods can keep you up for reasons you might not know about. Even for spicy-food lovers, spicy food can lead to indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn. If you go to sleep without letting your body properly digest the food, it can worsen symptoms of indigestion, which could lead to nausea and irritation throughout the night.
Foods High in Sugar
Staying away from foods that can quickly increase blood sugar levels is advised not for regular health advisories, but before bed. Foods high in the glycemic index have been linked with insomnia and other sleep issues, however, there is little evidence to support it. Some studies relate high GI diets to insomnia and sleeping problems, while others claim a high GI meal shortens the time it takes people to fall asleep. Other studies have also supported the idea that foods high in sugar can be correlated with poorer sleep quality.
Foods High in Fat
Many studies have supported the idea that fatty foods have negatively impacted sleep schedules and quality. Fatty foods take more time to digest, so giving your digestive system an ample amount of time to digest the fat is essential, as it can contribute to worsened symptoms of acid reflux. A 2016 study of 26 people discovered that greater saturated fat consumption was linked to lighter, less restorative sleep.
Fast Foods & Heavily-Processed Foods
Limiting your intake of fast foods has always been recommended by doctors, and heavily processed foods have become more recognized for unhealthy levels of sugar, fat, and sodium. Diets heavy in ultra-processed foods are regularly linked to poor sleep quality and short sleep duration, according to research, including one study observing 118,462 teenagers aged 12–18 found that shorter sleep duration and lower sleep quality were linked to greater consumption of fast food, instant noodles, and sweets. This may also be linked to fast foods and processed foods’ ability to lead to obesity, which can additionally lead to obstructive sleep issues such as sleep apnea.
Everyone typically associates alcohol as a sleep aid. A glass of wine at night always seems like the perfect way to end a night, making you sleepy and relaxed just before bed. However, studies now show that drinking alcohol can cause sleep disturbances throughout the night, as blood alcohol levels seem to lower overnight, which can naturally disturb the body.
Eating any kind of food high in acid can lead to acid reflux if not careful. You may not feel heartburn from improper digestion, but awakening in the middle of the night from nausea and acid reflux can ruin your sleep schedule, and consequently disturb the rest of your day, leaving you feeling tired and groggy. Try staying away from pizza, as it is high in dairy and grease, and other processed foods.
Foods High in Protein
This may seem like one of the most unlikely reasons that your body doesn’t get the good sleep it needs. Our bodies need protein to carry on throughout the day, and it can be the key to a good night’s rest. Not giving your body enough time to digest it though, can lead to severe heartburn or indigestion throughout the night.