After a crummy night of sleep, most people play the blame game, pointing fingers at work stress, the blue light from their devices, or their bedmates tossing, turning, or wagging. But there’s another common disruptor of Zzz’s most sleep deprived folks don’t think of: their dinner or late-night snack.
Here are seven types of food and drinks that you should avoid eating before getting tucked in for the night.
1. Ice Creams and High Sugar
Eating a bowl of ice cream before bed may sound tempting but it may hamper your sleep later. Like fatty cheese, ice cream can also take time to digest and your body really isn’t able to rest well while it’s still digesting foods.
Sugar can also cause your energy to spike, keeping you from falling asleep easily. Those couple of sugar punches and fat makes ice cream a sleep disruptor, rather than a supporter. In fact, candy bars, ice creams, cakes, etc, are all a big no when it comes to eating before bed.
2. Hidden Caffeine
It’s no surprise that an evening cup of coffee might disrupt your sleep. But don’t forget about less obvious caffeine sources, like chocolate, cola, and tea. Even decaf coffee has a trace of it — but not enough to be a problem. For better sleep, cut all caffeine from your diet 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
3. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods do more than stimulate your taste buds — they also can irritate your stomach (particularly problematic if you’re prone to heartburn), which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.
4. Foods that Make You Gassy
Some types of cuisine could spell disaster for sound sleep. Foods that are difficult to digest and contain a lot of fiber may cause painful gas. Pressure and cramping caused by too much dried fruit, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts can keep you up late. High-fiber fruits and vegetables are great for your body, but not great for sleep; try to avoid them before bedtime.
5. Acidic Foods
Another trigger for acid reflux is – no surprise – highly acidic food. Things like citrus juice, raw onion, white wine and tomato sauce can disturb sleep by making heartburn worse. That is why you may regret eating a slice of piece before bed.
6. Tyramine-Rich Foods
To increase sleep quality, specialists recommend cutting out foods that have a high amount of tyramine later in the day. This amino acid causes the brain to release a natural stimulant that facilitates brain activity. This can make falling asleep more challenging. Foods that are rich in tyramine include tomatoes, soy sauce, eggplant, red wine and aged cheeses.
[Read: Top 10 Foods That Help You Sleep]
7. Don’t Smoke to Relax
Even if it’s one of your favorite ways to unwind, smoking isn’t a good idea — night or day. Nicotine is a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine. Avoid smoking before bedtime or if you wake up in the middle of the night. Keep trying to quit — it’s hard, but it’s worth it.