The Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed
Dairy is good. Chocolate...not so much.
Have you ever noticed that your late-afternoon caffeine fix (or dinner-party wine buzz) is keeping you up at night? Well, news flash: It’s more than just lattes and rosé affecting your sleep. (Chocolate? Nooooooo.) So we tapped Missy Tannen of luxury bedding brand Boll & Branch to give us the skinny on bedtime eats. See which foods you should be avoiding--and which you’re OK to midnight snack on.
Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime
Anything spicy: Your favorite takeout Thai curry can cause acid reflux, which leads to discomfort while you’re trying to rest. Best to indulge only at lunchtime.
Bacon: Forget the loaded cheeseburger if you need to catch up on zzz’s. The combination of high protein (problematic for digestion) and high fat (encourages acid production) in bacon makes this one a no-no.
Hard cheeses: Fragrant, aged cheeses typically contain tyramine, an amino acid that promotes extra brain activity that will make it hard to fall asleep. (So…cheese for breakfast?)
Chocolate: Before you bite off a chunk of that 72-percent, extra-dark bar, remember that chocolate includes traces of caffeine, plus a chemical called theobromine, which is also a stimulant.
Ginseng tea: Herbal teas are good, but Asian ginseng is actually known to have energizing effects, so reach for the Sleepytime instead.
Foods to Enjoy Before Bedtime
Dairy: It turns out there really is something to the ritual of warm milk before bed. For the best results, combine milk (which has sleep-inducing tryptophan) with carbohydrates to slow digestion. Think: soft cheese and crackers or cereal with milk.
Nuts: Almonds and walnuts contain an assortment of nutrients that encourage serotonin and melatonin production (read: snooze boosters). Plus, they’re a nutritious alternative to sugary desserts.
Jasmine rice: With a higher glycemic index than other grains, jasmine rice is an unexpected winner for lulling you to sleep. You’ll experience a slight spike in blood sugar that will fade as your body switches over to sleep mode.
Cherry juice: The sugar content in fruit juice might deter you, but cherry juice actually also encourages melatonin production. Tart varieties produce the strongest effect.
Mint tea: Brewing mint leaves produces lactucarium, a substance that has mild sedative effects. Basically, a natural Ambien.