It’s late and you’re hungry. You want food, now. You shuffle down the stairs to the kitchen, your rob tied loosely around your body. You half consciously open the fridge and peer in at its contents. The fridge light makes you squint. You reach for something. Is that…yes! It’s a leftover piece of chocolate cake from your friends birthday party. Score!
And just like that, you’ve compromised your health in more ways than one. You might feel like a full belly equals a good night’s rest, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A heavy meal right before bed can put a strain on your digestive system and disrupt your sleep.
Sporadic, late-night eating can also lead to weight gain. Consuming these foods in particular only makes your health worse.
This should be a no-brainer. Coffee is a wake-me-up drink, so it won’t help you go to sleep. Studies have shown that coffee also compromises deep sleep and alters the normal stages of sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, decaf coffee isn’t caffeine-free, it just has less caffeine than regular coffee. Try a herbal tea like chamomile to get your body ready for sleep while aiding your body in digestion. Try to drink your tea with nothing in it to avoid sugar or dairy before bed.
Just because alcohol makes you drowsy, doesn’t mean it will give you revitalizing sleep. A refreshing night of sleep includes six to seven cycles of rapid eye movement, (REM sleep), that level of sleep where your memory is restored. Alcohol prevents that from happening. No wonder you can’t remember what happened the night before!
Due to their high fat and protein content, red meats take a long time to digest. This forces your body to stay awake to digest when it should be resting. This will make you feel sluggish in the morning.
This vegetable, and others like garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables, encourages flatulence and tummy troubles before bed. Avoid these foods to prevent late night abdominal discomfort.
Greasy and Cheesy Foods
Avoid high-fat cheeses and greasy toppings. These foods can also give you digestive discomfort. Try a little non-fat cottage cheese or low-fat mozzarella or ricotta cheese. Low-fat cheese, in moderation, can actually help you go to sleep.
Spicy, Fried and Fatty Foods
You probably knew this one was coming. One can say that spicy, fried and fatty foods are not good for you at any time of the day. These foods can leave a lot of acid in your stomach overnight while they’re being digested.
This is another healthy-diet no-no, no matter what time of day it is. These drinks are highly acidic and loaded with sugar. Sodas give you gas and make you bloated. They can also disrupt your sleep with their caffeine content.
Chocolate and Candy Bars
You probably wish you didn’t have that chocolate cake now. Dark chocolate has caffeine which keeps you up. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and fats that disrupt your sleep. These sweets, when consumed late at night, can also contribute to weight gain.