Most people know that drinking two cups of fully caffeinated coffee before bed will leave you tossing and turning all night. However, many don’t realize that even healthier foods can keep you up for hours past your bedtime, which can therefore cause you to turn to higher fat, higher calorie foods to compensate for excess stress caused by sleep deprivation.
According to a study, a survey on sleep deprivation and insomnia in more than 1.1 million participants revealed that regularly getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep resulted in a higher BMI. Therefore, you can infer that getting a good night’s sleep can help you stave off unwanted pounds, and also, avoid cravings for unhealthy foods.
In order to maintain a healthy weight and feel good overall, you will need to get adequate sleep. Unfortunately, many people indulge at foods at night that do anything but send them off to dreamland, instead, keeping them alert and awake well into the night.
Here are 6 foods that are making you lose sleep:
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Who would’ve ever guessed that broccoli and cauliflower could cause you to pull an all-nighter? These types of veggies have tons of important minerals and phytochemicals that greatly benefit your health, as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to produce serotonin, which induces sleep. However, cruciferous vegetables are among the hardest to digest, containing a high amount of insoluble fiber, which takes longer to move through your system. By eating these veggies too close to bedtime, your body will have to work on digesting the food instead of getting you ready for sleep, meaning hours of potential sleep time down the drain.
2. Dark chocolate
While dark chocolate contains tons of antioxidants and minerals, lowers the risk of heart disease, decreases blood pressure, and even protects the skin from the sun, eating it too close to bed will leave you staring at the ceiling all night long. Some dark chocolate contains almost as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, with the darker varieties having the most caffeine. They also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the body, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.
3. Cured meats and aged cheeses
Many people snack on these foods at a party or other special event, but while they taste good, they don’t do much for your beauty rest. Cured meats and aged cheese contain an amino acid called tyramine which releases norepinephrine, another stimulant that will do anything except make you feel sleepy.
4. Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce accompanies many dishes, especially Italian ones such as spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, or other similar favorites. While most people love a steaming bowl of pasta covered in marinara sauce, indulging in this delicious comfort food could keep you awake longer than you’d intended. Tomatoes contain a slew of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, but they also are very acidic, which can lead to heartburn and indigestion late at night. Try to consume tomatoes a few hours before bed to avoid any symptoms of acid reflux.
5. Red meat
According to research, high fat foods such as red meat take longer to digest than high fiber, high carbohydrate foods because fattier foods send signals to the stomach to empty it slowly. On average, it takes meat-eaters 24 hours longer for food to exit their digestive system due to their higher fat intake. However, if you do choose to eat meat, try to avoid eating heavier meats, such as beef and pork, close to bedtime. Opt for chicken or fish instead, which are much easier to digest. Keep in mind that high-protein diets have been linked to sleep apnea, however, so make sure to eat an adequate amount of fiber to keep your diet balanced.
6. Spicy foods
Just like tomatoes, spicy foods can trigger heartburn and indigestion, making it very difficult to get a sound sleep. They also boost the metabolism and raise your body’s core temperature, which makes for a very uncomfortable situation when you get ready to drift off at night. If you do eat spicy foods, make sure to eat them at least a few hours before bed, to give them time to digest properly.