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You miraculously got a full eight hours last night and already downed your morning Starbucks. So why are you struggling to keep your eyes open? It could be what you had for breakfast. While certain foods’ sleep-promoting properties can be a lifesaver at 1 a.m., a brain that’s primed for bedtime isn’t exactly ideal at, say, your 2 p.m. meeting. Here are seven sneaky foods to watch out for. 

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tired foods oatmeal


Wait, what? Yep, the classic breakfast food can trigger your body to produce melatonin, thanks to its carbohydrate- and vitamin B6-rich profile. That doesn’t mean you need to find a new a.m. meal entirely—just be sure to pair it with healthy fats and protein to balance out its effects.

tired foods banana


You know they’re rich in potassium, but did you know they also have high levels of magnesium, which tells your muscles and nervous system to relax? A great side effect at 8 p.m.—but at 8 a.m., not so much.

tired foods hummus


We know: This one surprised us, too. Chickpeas are rich in tryptophan, and thanks to the carbohydrates they contain, it gets delivered to your brain quickly. You don’t have to swear off your favorite afternoon snack, but maybe avoid polishing off the whole tub.

tired foods nuts


Almonds and cashews are particularly magnesium-rich (as are pumpkin seeds). If you’re normally getting enough magnesium, you should be fine, but if your body’s craving the mineral, it might “reward” you with a wave of exhaustion. 

tired foods dairy


Everyone’s heard the old “milk before bed” advice, but you might get some of those snooze-inducing effects when you don’t want them. Dairy contains both calcium and tryptophan, and the former promotes the absorption of the latter. (Additionally, even a mild sensitivity to dairy can lead to feelings of sluggishness.)

tired foods pretzels


Sorry, but that handful you grabbed for an energy boost could be doing the opposite. Refined carbohydrates (anything with white flour, basically) make your blood sugar quickly rise…and then crash.

tired foods cheeseburger

A Cheeseburger

A giant, protein-heavy meal is basically the kiss of death if you’re trying to stay alert. Your body has to work harder to digest red meat, and high amounts of salt slow the process down even more. And when all that energy is diverted to your stomach, the rest of you pays the price. In other words: Food comas are real.

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