The Meal that Ate Your Dreams: 4 Foods That Prevent You from Getting Better Sleep

August 21, 2013 by  

If you’ve been suffering from insomnia or lack of sleep, you’ve probably already eliminated or cut back on sugar and caffeine. Those are two no-brainers that almost everyone knows you have to get rid of if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Assuming you’ve already eliminated these two foods and you’re still having trouble sleeping, it could be something else in your diet. Believe it or not, there are tons of foods that can cause chemical reactions in your body that lead to insomnia. Check out this list of offender foods and see if any of them make regular appearances on your table.

  1. Chinese Food – If you frequently make the rounds at the local Chinese buffet or find yourself picking up take-out on your way home from work, you might not be getting the best sleep. You can still indulge in Chinese cuisine, just make sure that the restaurants you frequent don’t use MSG in their food. MSG is oftentimes used in Chinese food as a flavor enhancer and preservative, but one of its many side effects can be sleep disturbances.
  2. I Love Better Sleep - Bacon

  3. Bacon – Fatty, greasy foods lead to heartburn and indigestion. Heartburn and indigestion can lead to trouble falling or staying asleep. There’s also another culprit in bacon that you may not have heard of; tyramine. Tyramine causes the brain to release increased amounts of nor-epinephrine, which acts as a stimulant. Great for breakfast, maybe, but hold off on the BLT for dinner.

  4. I Love Better Sleep - Spinach

  5. Spinach – Spinach? Really? Everyone knows that spinach is good for you! Yes, it is; but save it for lunch time when you want an energy boost to get through the rest of your work day. Just like bacon, spinach contains tyramine. You don’t want your Pop-Eye powers to kick in when you’re ready to get some shut-eye.
  6. Jalapenos – Not just jalapenos, but any spicy food in your repertoire. Spicy foods taste fantastic, and they can even have health benefits, but timing is everything. If you have issues with heartburn when you eat spicy foods, eat them earlier in the day. Go for milder fare at dinner time, and whatever you do, don’t indulge in anything with a kick for a late night snack.

Restricting these common foods to earlier in the day can go a long way towards helping you fall asleep, but remember that they are far from the only tasty morsels that can do a number on your night time routine. If you are convinced that your sleep issues are arising from a dietary issue, but you can’t seem to pinpoint the food, speak with your doctor. A referral to a dietician or other professional who understands the role food can play in sleep issues may be in order. Of course, it could also be something else entirely, so it’s a good thing to look into. Most minor sleep disturbances can be figured out on your own with a bit of detective work; just be sure not to let it go on for too long before seeking professional help.

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