Foods to Avoid if You Want to Sleep

Food and Sleep

I am lucky enough to get to work with one of my best friends. When either one of us is having a bad day, we normally take the other out to lunch. You know, to get away from the pressures of the office and such. While in the process of choosing where to go, we both have an understanding that unless it’s ‘treat yaself Friday’ or ‘I’m having a really crap day and need something fancy’ we stick to something light, but filling. We do this because if we full up on a bunch of delicious food, we tend to want to take a nap afterwards and aren’t as nearly productive as before heading out to lunch.

While this has become some what of a tradition for her and me, I cannot say that I partake in this tradition right before dinner time. There are certain foods that I avoid after say about 3 PM because I know that it will affect me right before going to bed… And since we know how much I love my bed (and my momma) – yes that was another Drake the reference – you can imagine that I want little to no trouble when it comes to falling asleep or staying asleep.

The most obvious food/drink to avoid too late in day is coffee or tea (or anything with caffeine). As much as I love a smoking hot cup of coffee in the morning, I cannot for the life of me consume even a sip of coffee after about 2 PM or else I am in big t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Coffee in the morning is quite literally my saving grace. As it is a stimulant, it increases the consumer’s alertness tenfold, but it technically does not produce energy. This explains why you may still feel a little sluggish after having a cup or two of ‘joe’ in the morning. It’s a little weird that coffee still has the stimulant effect hours later into the evening (if I should drink a cup after 2), so this is why I make sure I am up and at ‘em after my first cup!

This next food ‘group’ is particularly difficult for me to discuss as I do not completely agree with the science behind this, but science is science and you can’t really argue against it. Spicy foods, pizza, and burgers are typically a no-no right before bed because they tend to be heavy and can lead to an intense case of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease aka heartburn). I joke around about getting older and suffering from heartburn and such because I am a true foodie and love to eat – what if I can’t enjoy my favorite foods because they will eventually torture my poor, innocent soul and heart? (… If you haven’t already guessed, your girl has some problems, but we’ll talk about that later.) Another no-no before bed is tomato based sauces because, yep, you guessed it GERD. That means I can’t enjoy pasta, lasagna, or tomato soup! What is the world coming to?!

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This last item isn’t something that I really depend on all that much, so I don’t mind it making the list: alcohol. Sure, you’d want a crisp, cool glass of white wine to accompany your fancy dinner, or a large margarita, because it’s Monday and you really need a drink, but let’s cap it at one. We all know the side affects of too much alcohol in general, but too much alcohol right before bed is definitely not a good idea because it can seriously disrupt your sleep cycle. You will not achieve deep sleep, therefore you will not actually rest while asleep, your body will not recover and regenerate like it supposed too, and you will wake up more exhausted than before you made it to bed. Plus, let’s keep in mind that a hangover is not fun, so my advice is to avoid the experience altogether.

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Being someone with a diverse cultural background, I was always taught that when you go over someone’s home and they offer you something to eat or drink, you accept – no matter the time of day. To refuse is considered to be extremely rude, and will earn you dirty looks from your elders and a long lecture when you finally make it home. They didn’t care how late it was, if it would affect your sleep cycle, or if it was hazardous to your health; it just didn’t matter. However, now that a lot of my family members and their associates are a little older, I can use the health card, not only for myself, but for them as well and get away with not eating while visiting someone’s home.

To summarize: be aware of what you are eating at what time of the day because it may come back to bite you in the behind if you’re not careful.
For more information on what foods are good to eat before bed and which to avoid, please see:

For more information on sleep apnea, please see:

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