Let’s be honest with each other, who doesn’t love a good late night snack? I know I do! However, the wrong foods can do more than throw off your nutrition goals, they can also increase the likelihood of insomnia and restlessness. On the other side of that coin, eating the right foods can make sure you get a solid and deep sleep. All it takes is a little research find out which foods are which, but don’t worry, we’ve done that for you.
Best Food Before Bed:
- Cherries: Cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, the chemical the helps to control our internal body clock. You might’ve heard of melatonin capsules and their popularity with travelers looking to get rid of jet lag. Going further, a small study found that drinking tart cherry juice showed small improvements in sleep duration and quality in adults who suffered from chronic insomnia.
- Milk: Milk contains tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, or more commonly known as the chemical in turkey that puts people to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner. That being said, there is no conclusive evidence to say whether or not it can actually help with chronic insomnia (hence the runner-up position).
- Honorable Mentions: Jasmine Rice, Sweet Potato, Fortified Cereal, Valerian Tea
Worst Food Before Bed:
- Bacon Cheeseburger: This may seem a little specific but the amount of late night burgers and fast food stops people have make this one a not-so-strange pre-bed meal. The stratospheric fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to be a sleep killer. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can spill up into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Fatty foods can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, making it even easier for acid to get in all the wrong places.
- Alcohol – Hashtag sad face right?! I mean, essentially I just killed a lot of Saturday nights for people. No booze or fast food late night? COME ON! But it’s true. Any kind of alcohol will almost surely mean a terrible nights sleep. Why? Alcohol metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night. One study found that a glass of bourbon or vodka mixed with caffeine-free soda at bedtime increased the amount of time women spent awake during the night by 15 minutes. It also reduced nightly sleep time by 19 minutes and diminished quality of sleep. Or, if that doesn’t swing it for you, think selflessly. Alcohol increases the likelihood of you snoring during sleep. Think of your partner!
- Dishonorable Mentions: Chocolate, Coffee (duh!), Spices, Soda, High Amounts of Protein