Foods to Avoid Before Bed

by Clay McNight ; Updated April 18, 2017

The tomato sauce and meat toppings on pizza can lead to heartburn before bed.

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By knowing which foods to avoid before bedtime, you can help yourself to a restful night's sleep. Some foods can cause acid reflux and heartburn, while others can cause blood sugar to spike, which can increase energy levels. Certain foods can make your digestive system work hard before bed, keeping you up. Some of the best foods to avoid before bed include pizza, celery, wine, coffee, dark chocolate, spicy foods and foods high in fat or refined carbohydrates.

Pizza Perils

Pizza is a heavy meal that can cause your stomach to work hard right before bed -- not exactly ideal for relaxation. Tomato sauce is an acidic food, which can cause acid reflux in some people. Other high-fat toppings such as meat and cheeses can also aggravate heartburn.

Celery and Sleep

Although celery is a healthy food, it may not be your best option before bed because it has a diuretic effect on the body. This means you may wake up more throughout the night to use the bathroom.

Wrong Time for Wine

Wine, and alcoholic beverages in general, can alter your sleeping patterns and cause you to wake up throughout the night. In addition, alcoholic drinks can cause you to snore.

Coffee and Espresso

Coffee and espresso are both high in caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. Consuming these drinks too close to bedtime will keep you up. Some people can even feel the effects of caffeine up to 12 hours after they consume it.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate may not be the best choice for a late night snack, as it contains small amounts of caffeine. One brand of chocolate bar contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine – a relatively small amount but enough to keep some people up.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can cause some people to have trouble falling asleep. Examples of this could include curry and foods made with hot sauce, mustard, red pepper or cayenne pepper. Garlic can also cause heartburn and acid reflux in some people when consumed before lying down.

High-Fat, High-Sugar Foods

Foods that are high in fat or refined carbohydrates make your digestive system work harder, which can leave you feeling sluggish before bed. A cheeseburger with a white bread bun is one example of a high-carbohydrate, high-fat food that also stimulates acid production in the stomach. This can lead to heartburn while sleeping.

Photo Credits

  • Singkham/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Clay McNight is currently a nutrition writer with Demand Media Studios.