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The Surprising Thing You Shouldn’t Eat Before Bed if You Have Trouble Sleeping

February 14, 2019

Tossing and turning all night? The answer to your sleep woes may not be in investing in a new pillow or firmer mattress. Instead, you might want to take a look at what’s inside your fridge. 

When it comes to foods and drinks to avoid before bed, it’s obvious that coffee and heavy meals are on the list. But did you know that your favorite spicy dish could also be problematic?

Spicy foods can cause acid reflux (not pleasant), and it can actually get worse if you lie down right after eating. Relax—there’s no need to miss out on your go-to takeout. Instead, limit that spicy Thai curry to lunchtime only. 

Another (less surprising) no-no? Sugar. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that foods high in saturated fat and sugar (think: that ice cream sundae you whipped up) are associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more interruptions. And even though a square (or, you know, five) of dark chocolate is your usual evening treat, you might want to give that one a pass, too. Dark chocolate may boast good-for-you antioxidants, but it also has caffeine and a chemical called theobromine that is also a stimulant—not exactly conducive to a good night’s shut-eye. 

So, what’s a snack-loving gal to do? Try a handful of almonds—they’re packed with nutrients that encourage sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin production. And turns out your mom was right all along—a glass of warm milk is rich in tryptophan, aka a total snooze booster. Sweet dreams.

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