7 Foods to Avoid for a Good Night’s Sleep

Mar 19, 2014

By Valerie Bennis, President of Essence of Vali

If you’re looking to sleep soundly tonight, there are seven substances you should avoid. Unfortunately, they’re part of the average American diet:

  • Caffeine
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Fats
  • Garlic
  • Spicy Food
  • Red Meat

Why avoid them? Essentially, they have various effects on the way your body sleeps—whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep. Before bed, avoid coffee, soda and alcohol because they affect our energy—stimulating or sedative. Try drinking water and herbal teas, which contribute naturally to your well-being and create balance in your body, mind and spirit, rather than creating a roller coaster effect. Although a glass of wine might make you feel tired, chances are you’ll have a restless night of sleep once you hit the sheets. Alcohol prevents you from falling into deep, uninterrupted REM sleep.

It’s also best to avoid sugar close to bedtime. Sugar spikes your energy and triggers the famous “sugar crash,” which brings your energy level down and creates a vicious cycle of ups and downs. There are many healthy treats you can find to satisfy your sweet tooth without causing damage. Some good ones include cherries, milk, fortified cereal, a banana or sweet potato. When choosing a snack before bed, avoid fatty foods because they can cause stomach issues when you lie down.

Spicy foods and garlic are known to cause heartburn, making you vulnerable to acid reflux. Not only can spicy foods disrupt sleep, but they also raise core body temperature, which is linked to poor sleep quality. Red meat or lots of protein before bed will keep your body working throughout the night to breakdown and digest. If you consume meat right before bed, your body won’t be able to achieve deep sleep throughout the night as it’ll be too busy working—all systems need to be at rest.