You know a plate of spicy nachos or a pint of chocolate ice cream after your dinner will make your sleep hard to come by – spicy and sugary foods can leave you bloated and too uncomfortable to sleep comfortably.
But there are lesser known, healthy foods that you probably aren’t aware of that’ll disrupt your sleep if consumed within 4-6 hours of bedtime. Here are three insomnia offenders found in your kitchen.
Even a single serving of cheese can affect your sleep quality, and we usually eat more than that in sitting (one serving is about a single sandwich-sized slice).
“Cheeses higher in saturated fat such as Swiss, cheddar, blue, and parmesan can be challenging to digest, especially when you’re laying down,” says Los Angeles–based nutritionist Maggie Moon, MS, RD, author of The MIND Diet.
Hard cheeses can also lead to heartburn. “Laying down too soon after eating them can make it easier for acid reflux to happen, causing discomfort and burning in the chest,” she adds.
If it’s dairy you’re really craving, a warm glass of milk is better alternative – it can actually help you fall sleep due to the amino acid tryptophan, which some say can help you relax.
While a half-bar of dark chocolate is healthier than a slice of cheesecake, it’s more of a threat to your sleep.
“Dark chocolate can be a polyphenol-rich treat, but it’s also a surprising source of caffeine,” says Moon. “It’s common to avoid beverages like coffee or caffeinated tea before bed, but it’s just as important to avoid food sources of this stimulant, which can make it hard to fall and stay asleep.”
Related: 3 Ways to Get a Better Sleep
Cold cuts and processed meat
Because of their high sodium count, cold cuts and processed meats can have you feeling bloated, retaining a ton of fluids before you’re ready to lay down for the evening. Sodium-rich foods can also make you thirstier, leading to more water consumption, and less sleep due to frequent trips to the bathroom.
“I recommend clients focus on a lower-sodium alternative that still packs a punch of protein, like natural peanut butter,” says. San Diego–based nutritionist Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN. A tablespoon or two over an apple should fill you up and keep hunger pangs at bay all night long.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock.com; beats1/Shutterstock.com