Many a night owl has felt the sting of staying up a bit too late before a long day. Getting settled in to bed at night can be a bit difficult, and for some people, it can be hard to pinpoint just what is causing bedtime woes. If you’re not sure why counting sheep doesn’t seem to be doing it for you, it might be time to take a look at your bedtime snacks.
1. Dark Chocolate
The same reasoning for why you don’t chug a cup of coffee before bed applies to dark chocolate: the caffeine content. While it’s much lower than coffee, for the caffeine sensitive, this could still be a kick that keeps you up.
2. Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love a sundae before bedtime? As it turns out, your body might not; ice cream is packed full of sugar, which could disturb your sleep as your body works to break down that high sugar content. Plus, many flavors contain dark chocolate, which we already know isn’t a great sleep promoter.
It’s a common trope in many sitcoms that you shouldn’t have pizza before bed at the risk of strange dreams, but as it turns out, that might be based in fact. According to a recent study, dairy products are most commonly blamed for bizarre and intense dreams, and pizza is chock full of cheese. In addition, acidic tomato sauce can irritate the stomach, leading to late-night tummy aches and groggy trips to the bathroom. Rounding out pizza’s no-no attributes are the high calories that come mainly from carbohydrates, leading to an insulin spike and weight gain as all those unused calories go straight to your fat stores.
4. Sugary Cereals
Along the same lines as ice cream are high-sugar cereals, which your body digest quickly, leaving your blood sugar sky high. If you’re craving a carby snack before you catch some z’s, go for something low in sugar and high in fiber, as low fiber diets are linked to lighter, more easily disturbed sleep.
5. Chinese Food
Late night take-out satisfies many a craving, but it won’t do you any favors when you’re trying to drift off to dream world. MSG, which Chinese food is famous for, stimulates the body much like caffeine, leaving you tossing and turning throughout the night. Most serving sizes are also meant to be a full meal; like pizza, this means too many calories for not enough action, leading to fat gain.
6. Chilis (Or Spicy Foods)
Spicy foods can kick your metabolism into high gear, which certainly won’t help you in your pursuit of sweet dreams. Anyone prone to heartburn will find spicy foods are a double whammy of restlessness, as they can cause or aggravate this condition.
If a good night’s sleep hasn’t been on the table for you for awhile, taking a close look at what’s on your table could solve your nighttime woes. For good sleep, stick to light, carby snacks or those high in fiber, since these have been shown to contribute to better sleep.