Sleep seems to get more important to our health every time somebody decides to study its benefits. It’s enough to make you lose sleep over trying to get enough sleep.
But there’s one easy way to improve your sleep quality — avoid foods known to interfere with sleep when consumed too close to bedtime. The right cutoff time varies between foods and people, but all of these should be avoided for a minimum of two to three hours before you plan to go to sleep.
Large amounts of anything
Big meals naturally take longer for your body to process than smaller ones. Shifting more of your calories to lunch could be a big help with getting to sleep.
Heavy, fried or greasy foods
Your body will be digesting these well into the night if you eat them too close to bedtime, raising the odds of indigestion and other issues that disturb your sleep.
High water-content foods
Watermelon, cucumber and others in this category can be sneakier than water itself because we’re less aware of their ability to fill our bladders and wake us up in the middle of the night.
It’s almost as famous for disrupting sleep as it is for inducing it. It may seem to help initially but messes with our sleep cycles later on and reduces overall REM sleep.
This is the big one, a stimulant that nobody expects to aid with sleep (and it doesn’t). Remember that it can show up in unexpected sources like desserts, non-cola sodas, pain medications, weight-loss pills, and it’s been added to some of the foods you’d least suspect — oatmeal, sunflower seeds.
Even without caffeine, these can cause indigestion that will keep you up and have the same effect on your bladder or any other drink, when consumed to excess.
Lowering your stomach’s overall production of acid cuts down on acid reflux and related issues. This is a big group including alcohol, soda and carbonated drinks, grains, sugary foods and some dairy and meat products.