Eating the right foods at the right time is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While all foods have their place in a balanced diet, certain ones can disrupt your sleep when eaten close to bedtime.
Here’s a closer look at 11 foods you should avoid consuming at night to ensure restful and disturbance-free sleep.
Foods With High Acidity Levels
Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can cause acid reflux and heartburn, especially when eaten late at night.
They raise stomach acid levels, which can flow back into the esophagus when lying down, causing a burning sensation.
Capsaicin in hot peppers raises body temperature, interfering with the natural cooling process during sleep.
A comprehensive 2016 study involving 459 women discovered that a higher intake of total and saturated fat was linked to decreased total sleep duration.
Processed Snack Foods
According to a study from Uppsala University, indulging in a high-fat, high-sugar diet can affect your sleep quality. While it doesn’t impact sleep duration, it does influence delta sleep waves, which are important for tissue repair, memory consolidation, and mood.
Excessively Salty Foods
Salty foods can cause bloating, water retention, and discomfort, affecting sleep. High-salt diets can increase blood pressure, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke.
A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a strong link between late-night salty snacks and negative cardiovascular outcomes.
Dried fruits may appear healthy, but they are actually high in sugar and calories. The dehydration process concentrates natural sugars, making them an energizing snack that can disrupt sleep.
High-Water Content Foods
Despite their health benefits, high-water-content foods like cucumbers, watermelons, celery, and lettuce have a diuretic effect, increasing urination frequency. Consuming them before bed could disturb your sleep, as you may wake up during the night to use the restroom.
A 2013 study conducted on a small group of 12 individuals discovered that the consumption of 400 mg of caffeine at bedtime and three and six hours before sleep considerably disturbed the quality of sleep.
The Super Sugary Foods
A “Sleep Medicine” study linked high sugar intake to restless sleep. Rapid blood sugar spikes and crashes can cause wakefulness at night. Additionally, excessive calorie intake can lead to weight gain, as our bodies burn fewer calories at night.
Foods Rich in Tyramine
Tyramine can be found in items like aged cheese, processed meats, alcoholic beverages, and fermented soy products. Consuming tyramine can stimulate the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that boosts brain activity and may lead to insomnia.
Foods That Cause Flatulence
Certain polysaccharides, like raffinose and stachyose, found in foods such as beans, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, onions, and carbonated drinks, can cause flatulence. These polysaccharides are not fully digested in the gut and are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, resulting in gas.
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