5 Ways Food Can Get In The Way Of Sleep


You already know that sleep is important—but if you’re having trouble getting the shut-eye you need every night, your diet might have more to do with it than you think. According to author and dietitian Shelly Redmond, RD, you might do well to avoid these five foods that just may be sabotaging your sleep.

Caffeine. This one’s easy—just stay away from soda and coffee a few hours before bedtime and you’re golden, right? Not necessarily. If you suspect caffeine is the culprit keeping you awake at night, try watching your intake at least eight hours before bedtime. Over-the-counter medicines can have caffeine in them, as well as teas, so start checking labels and stick to decaf for a better chance of falling sleep.

Alcohol. A glass of wine sounds great in theory when it comes to getting drowsy, but according to Redmond, alcohol can cause you to wake up more frequently at night. So while that glass of wine may help you fall asleep, your REM sleep is drastically affected—which means you might wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all. Stick to no more than one glass at least one or two hours before bed.

Liquids. Water is great at just about any time except right before bed. Having to get up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night can disrupt both your sleep cycle and REM sleep. Avoid drinking water and other fluids one to two hours before bed to ensure that you stay asleep all night.

Aged And Fermented Foods. Believe it or not, eating aged cheese, smoked fish, and cured meats before bed could keep you awake at night, thanks to the amino acid tyramine—which stimulates the brain. If you need a snack involving cheese before bed, stick to fresh mozzarella on multigrain crackers.

Tomatoes. While leftover pizza might sound delicious for a late-night snack, you might want to avoid it unless it’s made without pizza sauce. Anything with acid—including tomato-based products and spicy foods—can cause heartburn and other uncomfortable problems. Redmond suggests avoiding these foods about three hours before crashing for the night in order to skip a night of restless sleep. 


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story Credit

Image Credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.