Sleep research studies carried out in recent years have shown that getting a good night’s sleep is more important than was previously thought. People who struggle with insomnia know how frustrating that experience can be, and even for those who normally have no trouble sleeping, tossing and turning at night while trying to sleep may not happen every night, but it can make the next day a bit more difficult to get through. Oftentimes an inability to sleep causes anxiety, making it even more difficult to sleep. In order to minimize the chances of having trouble getting to sleep, it’s best to steer clear of foods that are known to stimulate the senses, such as the following.
Almost everyone knows that caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake, and at times, that’s exactly what people use it for. While it may provide a good boost for someone who needs to work late, it’s definitely something you’ll want to stay away from if you’re planning to go to bed when you normally do, and get a good night’s rest. Coffee is one source of caffeine that’s pretty obvious, but it’s contained in a lot of other foods and beverages as well, so it’s always best to check labels if you want to be certain.
#2 SPICY FOODS
Spicy foods tend to have a lot of acid in them, and are best avoided when it gets close to evening and you want to improve your chances of getting to sleep on time. The acid in spicy foods can cause problems with digestion, and trigger conditions like indigestion and acid reflux. Laying down with a belly full of spicy food is much more likely to increase your chances for digestive trouble.
This is a tough one, since many people tend to limit their alcohol consumption to evening or nighttime hours. Although alcohol is a depressant, it’s not a terribly effective one, and has a tendency to wear off quickly. It hampers the body’s ability to enter into a state of deep, restful sleep, and that will become apparent in the morning, since it usually makes people feel less rested. Alcohol certainly might help you fall asleep faster, but it won’t help keep you there, or promote a good night’s sleep.
#4 CURED MEATS
It’s not uncommon to come across party snacks or other treats that feature cured meats such as salami, bacon, or pepperoni. There’s no doubt they make for a tasty snack, but it might best best to keep them at arm’s length if you need to get a restful night’s sleep. Cured meat contains tyramine, which causes the brain to release norepinephrine, a brain stimulant which is surely not going to help you drift off peacefully to sleep.
Most of the news about chocolate we’ve been hearing in recent years has been very positive, especially the health benefits of dark chocolate. Ironically, it’s the dark chocolate that will give you the most trouble getting to sleep at night. Most people know chocolate contains caffeine, that stimulant that seems to sneak its way into many of our favorite foods. Where caffeine content is concerned, the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains. Some types of dark chocolate can contain as much as 80 milligrams of caffeine in just one bar – about the same amount that’s found in a can of Red Bull!
#6 DECAF COFFEE
You would expect to be able to put your worries about caffeine aside when drinking a decaf latte or cup of decaf coffee, right? Not always. There are measurable amounts of caffeine found in some beverages that are supposed to be caffeine-free. In 2007 Consumer Reports conducted a study that found some decaf drinks from popular coffee shops contained enough caffeine to interfere with sleep. It’s probably best to avoid coffee in advance of bedtime, even if it is being advertised as decaf.
#7 AGED CHEESE
When thinking about foods that can interfere with sleep, cheese probably does not come readily to mind. It turns out that certain aged cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano contain an amino acid known as tyramine, which is also found in cured meats, and can keep you awake when you’d rather be in dreamland.
#8 FRIED FOODS
When it comes to snacks, some of the most popular are also the ones that are high in fat. Things like potato chips, French fries, and onion rings are very tempting to the taste buds of many people, but can be a bit difficult to digest due to the high fat content. Eating these kinds of snacks too close to bedtime can disrupt the normal sleep cycle and prevent the most beneficial and restorative sleep we all require.