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VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS || Sleep Hygiene Tip of the Week: 10 foods to avoid eating right before bed

If you are going to eat late at night, such as at a party or for a midnight snack, you could do better by avoiding the following 10 foods. Consuming these could lead to problems with overstimulation, repeated trips to the bathroom at night, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn and/or low metabolism leading to weight gain and potential obesity. 

  1. Bacon and other smoked meats contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine; consuming these triggers the release of norepinephrine in the brain, leading to wakefulness rather than sleepiness. 
  2. Celery is a natural diuretic. What this means is, if you eat a bunch of celery at bedtime, you may need to get up to use the bathroom as your body processes it. 
  3. Chocolate has caffeine in it and this will, naturally, stimulate your brain and keep you awake. Studies also show that candy bars right before bed can lead to nightmares. 
  4. Cheese before bedtime is going to be a troublesome gut bomb. Just because it is dairy doesn’t mean it will be good for you like a glass of warm milk will be. 
  5. Citrus fruits are high in acid, which is not the best thing to consume right before going to bed, especially if you also consume something that is high in fat. Fat and acid in the stomach while you sleep do not mix well and can lead to troublesome reflux. 
  6. Fatty meats like hamburger and steak may have good quantities of sleep-promoting properties like tryptophan, but the fat and general texture of these foods will slow down digestion and lead to indigestion and heartburn if eaten too close to bedtime. 
  7. Ice Cream’s high fat is harder to digest, will relax the esophageal sphincter, leading to potential reflux, and the sugar bomb will keep you awake before leading to a hypoglycemic crash. On top of that, the sugar will not be burned off as energy; the body will convert it to fat as a result. You can’t win.
  8. Nuts may consist of healthy fats, but they are fats, nonetheless and will be harder to digest and potentially lead to heartburn. 
  9. Pizza’s combination of high acid and high fat products is practically a guarantee of heartburn at bedtime, and many people overeat this highly popular food. Best to save your pizza cravings for earlier in the day.
  10. Spicy foods do a couple of things to the body: first, they stimulate all kinds of processes, which can disrupt sleep, and second, they inspire the body to generate a higher temperature. Your body, when getting ready for sleep, actually wants to cool down, so this late-night thermal boost can make it hard to sleep.

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