A good night’s sleep gives you energy so you can get through the day with a clear head. But getting the rest you need is much easier said than done.
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There’s nothing fun about feeling sluggish and tired because you didn’t sleep well the night before, especially when you have a long work or school day. Creating a comfortable sleep environment and avoiding electronic devices before bed can improve the quality of your sleep. But what you might not realize is that certain foods -eaten too close to bedtime- can disrupt your sleep.
Here’s a look at five of the worst foods to eat at night.
1. Red Meats And Fatty Foods
You might crave a juicy steak or hamburger. But if you eat red meat close to bedtime, you can rob your body of a good night’s sleep. Red meat and other high-fat foods take long to digest. If eaten within a couple hours before going to sleep, these foods can weigh heavily on your stomach causing discomfort (gas and bloating), poor sleep quality and morning sluggishness. As a rule of thumb, avoid high-fat and greasy foods at least three hours before bedtime.
2. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods can boost your metabolism, which is a good thing if you’re watching your weight. But if you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, stay away from spicy seasonings a couple hours before bedtime. Lying down too soon after eating a spicy meal can trigger heartburn or acid reflux, which can keep you awake at night. Also, spicy foods can increase your core body temperature, which might also lower the quality of your sleep.
If you’re looking for a treat before bed, don’t reach for a chocolate bar. Some dark chocolate bars contain 25% the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant that can boost your energy level and increase mental alertness, which isn’t good when you’re trying to sleep.
4. Ice Cream
After a long stressful day, you might crave a bowl of your favorite comfort food. But given the fact that ice cream is loaded in fat, it’s not exactly the best choice late at night. It’s also high in sugar, and too much sugar before bed can send your energy level through the roof. You don’t need any type of stimulation when you’re trying to unwind and get some sleep. Also, some researchers believe high-sugar foods before bedtime increase the chance of nightmares.
5. Bread, Pasta And Cereal
If you’re hungry before bed, eating carbs like pasta, cereal and bread can satisfy hunger. But since you won’t be moving around for the next eight hours, carbs eaten before bedtime can turn into fat, adding pounds to the scale. Carbohydrates also increase blood sugar levels, and higher levels can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.
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A good night’s sleep is crucial to staying alert and productive during the day. Some people reach for sleep aids to sleep better. But if you adjust your diet and avoid certain foods before bed, you might be able to sleep soundly without the help of medication.