12 Foods That Can Keep You Awake At Night (Without Caffeine)

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  • 05 Apr 2024
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If you find yourself restless at night, it could be due to something you recently ate. Not every meal counts as a suitable late-night supper, and many foods include hidden chemicals and qualities that can keep you awake, causing you to sleep poorly, which can be bothersome and uncomfortable. 

When it comes to foods that keep you awake, you might be shocked to learn that certain vegetables might make you toss and turn. I've compiled a list of 12 meals that can keep you awake at night, so you know what to avoid if you don't want to stay awake too long. 

Let's dive in.


12 Foods That Can Keep You Awake At Night


1. Alcohol

This can be a little perplexing, because alcohol can put individuals to sleep if consumed right before bedtime. However, alcohol does not classify as a depressant. When people fall asleep after consuming alcohol, they do not obtain the best quality sleep throughout the night and wake up in between sleep cycles. 

One way the body regulates sleep is through its circadian rhythm. Alcohol disrupts this pattern, making it difficult for the body to determine when it is time for bed. 

A published study reveals that alcohol may lower sleep time and have a negative impact on REM sleep.

REM stands for rapid eye movement sleep. This is a crucial sleep phase in which the eyeballs move randomly and rapidly. This period is critical for proper rest. 

Every healthy human being requires at least seven hours of REM sleep per night, and alcohol may have a negative impact on this, lowering the quality of sleep you get each night.


2. Fatty Foods

There is evidence that fatty foods have an adverse effect on your sleep. In 2016, a study concluded that consuming excessive levels of saturated fats made sleep feel shallow and insufficient. 

This happens because our digestive systems are not extremely active while we sleep. As a result, heavy meals can be difficult to digest when it's time to go to bed. 

Avoid fatty and heavy foods such as fried chicken, fries, mozzarella sticks, and potato chips.


3. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are those that contain a lot of spices, such as chili peppers, mustards, curry, and so on. Spices elicit a sensation that hovers between pain and pleasure. 

Spicy meals, while delightful, are not ideal for nighttime because they keep you awake. There are numerous reasons why this occurs. Some examples are indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn. 

In 2019, a study indicated that spices have a negative impact on sleep quality.

When you eat a spicy meal, your body temperature may rise somewhat. Although this rise is minor, it has an impact on sleep. To properly commence sleep, the body must maintain a temperature of 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Rich spicy foods can also have an impact on persons with digestive issues such as peptic ulcers or heartburn, causing very painful sensations. Spicy foods will induce pain for people who have peptic ulcers. Spicy foods may also induce chest discomfort for people suffering from heartburn. 

This discomfort may cause you to stay awake for prolonged periods of time, disrupting your sleep schedule. 

If you must eat spicy food, allow some time between your bedtime and the time you consume it.


4. Celery

Celery is a very rich vegetable. It provides almost everything you need, including vitamins and antioxidants. It can also lower inflammation. 

However, here is why it is classified as a food that can keep you awake at night: It contains diuretic characteristics. Many people believe that the meal acts as a natural diuretic.

This means that after eating celery, you may feel the need to use the restroom more frequently. Disruptions in sleep such as this will undoubtedly have an impact on the quality of your sleep.


5. Foods Containing a Lot of Salt

Salt enhances the flavor of food. A meal lacking the proper amount of salt will make you want to stop eating. Similarly, eating too little salt will have a bad impact on your sleep. 

According to an article released by the European Society of Endocrinology, salt has an impact on how well a person sleeps. This study discovered that those who eat salty foods before bedtime had more "superficial" sleep and are more likely to experience sleep problems. 

They either got up earlier than normal or awoke in the middle of the night to drink water. They awoke feeling unsatisfied and wanting to sleep more during the day, as they were sluggish and sleep-deprived. 

Allow some time between when you consume salty meals and when you go asleep. 

I'd add that salt affects blood pressure. If you have cardiac difficulties, it is better to avoid salty foods. 

An increase in blood volume, which occurs shortly after consuming a substantial amount of salt, increases the demand on your heart tissues. Also, avoid salt if you have kidney problems.


6. Cruciferous Vegetables

cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are crucial for your body, and you should include them in your meals because they provide so many benefits. 

However, they may diminish your sleep and keep you awake at night since they make you feel fuller, similar to beans. 

The indigestible sugars un cruciferous veggies can also cause bloating because the body struggles to break them down.

Instead of late-night vegetables, why not have vegetables for morning or lunch?


7. Beans

Beans are among the richest edible legumes. It provides numerous health benefits due to its high protein content and enough fiber content. 

Ironically, it might also disrupt your sleep. 

Many people experience "gassing," or feeling fuller than usual, after eating beans. When you feel overly full and need to use the restroom every three minutes, it will be difficult to sleep well at night. 

Having a lot of gas in your stomach can cause you to burp more and make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping posture. If you must have beans, try to have them during lunch. 


8. Dairy Products

This is especially true for persons with lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is just an inability to digest lactose. It is caused by a lactase deficiency. 

When consumers consume lactose-containing goods, they experience bloating, abdominal pain, and, on occasion, diarrhea. It is preferable to avoid dairy products or anything with a high lactose content, especially before bedtime. 

You should also avoid drinking a lot of milk, even if you have lactose sensitivity, because it might leave you feeling full for a long time.


9. Meat (Cured Meats)

If you have asthma problems, you should avoid cured meats at night. 

A study found that processed meat may exacerbate asthma symptoms, and because asthma symptoms worsen at night, this bodes disaster. 

Processed meats include tyramine, an amino acid that causes the body to release norepinephrine. 

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that gets the body ready to act. It is lowest when we are sleeping. So, any agent that boosts its concentration before bedtime may greatly impair sleep.


10. Foods With a High Glycemic Index

To put it simply, foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar levels. They can be found in a variety of foods, including bread, processed meals, sugary foods, and so on. 

Eating foods high in processed sugar has been linked, understandably, to insomnia. As your sugar levels rise and decrease, your body releases chemicals that can interrupt your sleep by affecting hormone levels. 

If you have diabetes, eating high-sugar foods will lead you to desire to pee more frequently, which means you will wake up from sleep more frequently, reducing sleep quality.


11. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are anti-inflammatory meals that enhance immunity; however, tomatoes, like processed meat, contain a high level of tyramine. 

This protein causes your brain to release the neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, making your brain more active than it should be while you sleep.


12. Water

You may already be aware that water can interfere with sleep. If you drink a lot of water right before bedtime, you'll feel full and need to use the restroom. Waking up between naps can impair the quality of your sleep.


Final Thoughts

Sleep is an important thing for our bodies, therefore we should attempt to get as much of it as possible. If you're having trouble sleeping, take a look at the 12 meals on this list to see if you can figure out why.

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