If you live your life at full-speed from the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning, until the moment you turn off your nightlight, but you still feel restless, you might be eating the wrong foods before bedtime. Stay away from these 17 foods guaranteed to keep you tossing and turning.
1. Bacon cheeseburger
You’d think super-filling foods would knock you out, but it depends on what they’re filling you up with. In the case of a bacon cheeseburger, you’re being filled up with a large amount of fat, which stimulates production of stomach acid, which can lead to sleep-disruptive heartburn.
Alcohol in general is bad for sleep because it metabolizes quickly, causing blood sugar fluctuations that can wake you up several times throughout the night. One study found that a bourbon or vodka drink with a non-caffeine mixer increased the amount of time women stayed awake during the night by 15 minutes.
You’re probably smart enough not to drink a cup of Joe right before bed, but even drinking the stuff in the early afternoon can keep some people up at night. Try removing it from your diet after noon every day for a week and see how your sleep changes.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate actually contains caffeine. A 1.55-ounce Hershey’s milk chocolate bar contains 12 milligrams of caffeine and the special-dark bar contains 20 milligrams of caffeine. That’s the same amount of caffeine in a half-ounce espresso. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause a rapid heart rate and restlessness.
5. Red Bull
You probably knew that Red Bull can be damaging to your sleep, but you may not have known just how damaging because the nutrition information on one of these little blue cans can be impossible to interpret. An eight-ounce Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, which is the equivalent of a one-ounce espresso.
6. Five-Hour Energy
If you were hoping simply switching energy drinks would do the trick, you should know that a 5-Hour Energy drink contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, so drinking one of these little bottles is like drinking 16 ounces of coffee.
7. Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew MDX, as well as Jolt Cola and Vault contain 71 milligrams of caffeine in every 12-ounce serving. That’s reaching the limit of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends.
You’re not safe consuming the more “classic” sodas either. Pepsi or Sprite contain both citrus and sodium benzoate, which can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and induce acid reflux—an insomniac’s nightmare.
9. Spicy food
One Australian study found that men who added Tabasco sauce and mustard to their dinners experienced more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep than men who ate dinner without the stuff. Spices can also lead to heartburn, another sleep disturber.
This one’s a bit shocking since it’s a dinnertime staple, but chicken, along with any sort of protein, is not the best choice to eat at night. Your body requires a lot of time and energy to digest protein, so if you eat a lot of it before bed, your body is focused on breaking that down instead of making you sleep.
11. Aged cheese
Even though a glass of warm milk might help you sleep, not all dairy is good to have at night. We know–grilled cheeses are so comforting! But if you’re a cheese aficionado and use aged cheese like Parmesan or Asiago, the amino acid tyramine could keep you awake.
12. Deli meat
If you like to hit a deli after a late night of drinking with friends, stick to a tuna sandwich. A sandwich piled high with cured meats will also have tons of that tyramine that keeps you extra alert.
13. Tomato sauce
A big bowl of spaghetti might sound like the right carb-heavy dinner to put you to sleep, but don’t top it with tomato sauce. Tomatoes are high in acid, which can provoke acid reflux and heartburn–not conducive to sound sleep.
14. Ginseng tea
You should probably stay away from tea close to bed time anyways if you don’t want your bladder to wake you up every few hours, but if you have to have it, stay away from Ginseng tea. The herb acts as a stimulant which can cause hypertension and keep you up.
It isn’t just your anger over that inevitably high sushi bill keeping you up–all the soy in that soy sauce and edamame appetizer is loaded with tyramine which is keeping you awake.
16. Ice cream
Resist the temptation to pair your night time shows with a bowl of ice cream. Ice cream is loaded with fat, and your body will go into working overtime during the night trying to digest that, which will keep you awake. Plus, high amounts of sugar have been shown to cause nightmares.
If you’re trying to eat more celery because the water and fiber content fills you up, great! But save it for your lunch time salads and skip the night time peanut butter on celery sticks. Celery is a diuretic, so it will cause your bladder to wake you up all night.