The 7 Worst Foods for a Good Night's Sleep

Hot Coffee at Bar at Night
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We have all experienced the sensation of indulging in a rib-sticking meal that leaves us feeling drowsy and lethargic. However, there is a delicate balance between food consumption and deep, restful sleep. The size, timing, and composition of a meal can all negatively influence the quality of your sleep. Here are the seven types of food that can deprive you of sleep:

  1. Foods that Contain Caffeine

    While the stimulative effects of caffeine are well-known, we frequently overlook the duration of its influence. For most people, the half life of caffeine is 4 to 6 hours, but its effects are not completely eliminated until at least 12 hours after consumption. For this reason, any caffeine use after noon may prevent your mind from quieting down at the end of the day.

  2. Spicy Foods

    Spicy foods often have many positive health benefits, but eating them too close to bedtime can result in a build up of stomach acid. This can result in an uncomfortable combination of heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux that keeps you lying awake at night.

  3. Alcohol

    Although alcohol is a sedative and may cause you to feel drowsy, it negatively effects the late stage REM sleep that is essential for mental rejuvenation. Denying your body this critical stage of sleep can leave you waking up feeling groggy the next morning.

  4. Foods High in Fat

    Like spicy foods, foods that are high in fat cause our bodies to produce an excess of stomach acid, often resulting in uncomfortable heartburn symptoms. In addition, a diet consistently high in fat has been shown to disrupt the production of orexin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate your sleep cycle.

  5. Foods High in Protein

    Protein requires a considerable amount of resources in your digestive system to be broken down and absorbed into the body. When foods that are high in protein are eaten close to bedtime, your body focuses on digesting instead of sleeping, resulting in restless slumber.

  6. Foods Containing a Lot of Water

    Watermelon, grapes, celery, and other foods that contain large amounts of water are natural diuretics that push water through your system. Although these properties are desirable for detox, they result in frequent bathroom visits during the night that interrupt your sleep.

  7. Heavy Meals Before Bedtime

    Though large, heavy meals can result in a condition affectionately known as a "food coma," their ability to induce quality sleep is lacking. When they are consumed soon before bedtime, the body focuses its resources on digestion, resulting in poor quality sleep.

While it is best to avoid these sleep-depriving foods, we are only human. It is best not to make a habit of it, but most of us are guilty of indulging in these vices from time to time. Indulge responsibly!



Jennifer recently retired from her career as a Certified Manual Physical Therapist to spend more time with her family. When she isn't writing about natural medicine, she enjoys practicing yoga, rock climbing, and running marathons.

Email Jennifer at [email protected].


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