10 foods to avoid before bed to get your best beauty ever
We’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again: sleep is a must. It is practically the foundation of overall health. From eating well-balanced meals to a sensible nighttime routine, your daytime routine will affect your sleep. Proper rest makes you happier and healthier. Although most people know sleep is essential, few make it a priority. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of adults do not get enough sleep. As a mother and toddler, I get it. Quality sleep isn’t always on the cards. My secret weapon? Know what foods to avoid before bed.
That’s right. Your bedtime snack (and for that matter, your dinner!) has more of an impact on your sleep than you realize. With this in mind, knowledge is power. Knowing which foods disrupt sleep will help you make more informed choices and prioritize sleep-promoting ingredients.
Featured image of Michelle Nash.
Peace of mind sleep helps balance blood sugar
Before diving into the foods to avoid before bed, let’s back up. One of the key components of a good night’s sleep is balanced blood sugar. Blood sugar, or glucose, is our main source of energy. We get it from the food we eat. In many ways, our diet can make or break blood sugar. When blood sugar is under control throughout the day, you have a higher chance of getting restorative sleep.
However, even partial sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance. In turn, this can raise blood sugar levels. As a result, lack of sleep has been linked to diabetes and blood sugar disorders. Key lesson? Balanced blood sugar leads to comfortable sleep, and comfortable sleep leads to better managed blood sugar. It’s a two-way street.
What happens to blood sugar while you sleep?
Blood sugar rises while you are sleeping. For a person with a normal sleep schedule, the spike occurs between 4 and 8 a.m. (this is known as the dawn effect). In a healthy person, insulin can handle the surge by instructing muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose from the blood. This keeps your blood sugar stable. For people with diabetes — or experiencing chronically mismanaged blood sugar — insulin can’t do its job well. Therefore, in the middle of the night, blood sugar levels rise. This can disrupt sleep, as well as cause high blood sugar in the morning.
Foods that raise blood sugar
With an understanding of your blood sugar, let’s dive into the foods that raise blood sugar. Of course, these are included in the foods that should be avoided before bed.
White Cereals (Refined Carbs)
Foods containing white grains, such as white bread, pasta, and rice, are all examples of refined carbohydrate sources. They are delicious, but most of their fiber is removed during processing. Unfortunately, without fiber, blood sugar spikes. When it comes to enjoying pasta for dinner, pair it with a simple salad as well as a good source of protein.
In addition to containing significant amounts of sugar, drinks like soda, sweetened iced tea, and even fruit juice contain virtually no protein, fat, or fiber. They are blood sugar bombs. What’s more, these drinks don’t actually support satiety.
Do you like oat milk? There are several reasons to drink oat milk in moderation (consider substituting oat milk for whole milk, almond milk, or coconut milk daily). The popular oat milks are high in refined carbs and often high in sugar (unless you buy the unsweetened variety). This is a double factor for blood sugar. If you like to enjoy a bowl of cereal before bed, choose glycemic-friendly milk and low-sugar, high-fiber cereal or granola.
Fried food – especially fast food – is an easy way to spike blood sugar. Sure, no one calls fast food healthy, but we tend to think of burgers and fries as just high in calories and fat. The truth is, fast food also tends to be high in sugar. Some popular burgers actually contain as much sugar as a candy bar!
Dried fruit can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. They are a quick source of energy and taste delicious in a granola and trail mix. That said, it’s important to combine dried fruit with protein (fibre cheeses, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, etc.) as well as a source of fat (walnuts, almonds, olives, etc.) balance blood sugar. Dried fruit is an energizing pre-workout snack, but it’s one of those foods to avoid before bed.
10 foods to avoid for better sleep
Needless to say, here are the foods to avoid for a better night’s sleep. While it’s not coming never eat these foods again, that’s being mindful of how they might affect your closing of your eyes. Rest assured, there are plenty of delicious treats to satisfy your sweet – or savory cravings before bed.
It may seem like a cocktail, a few beers, or a few glasses of wine help you fall asleep. However, there are three solid reasons not to drink alcohol (especially too much) before bed. First, alcohol disrupts your natural sleep cycle later at night. This can reduce the amount of restorative REM sleep you get.
Second, alcohol consumption relaxes all the muscles in the body, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea and loud snoring. Finally, alcohol tends to cause acid reflux, which is no fun when you’re trying to go to sleep. We know it’s not the same, but there to be interesting non-alcoholic wines on the market.
While grapes have *some* melatonin in them, they are high in (natural) sugar. If you’re going to eat grapes close to bedtime, eat a smaller portion and pair them with a bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt and walnuts. In terms of blood sugar control, eating a large bowl of fruit – especially before bed – can lead to blood sugar spikes. In turn, this can lead to insomnia. Also, the fruit is acidic, which means it maybe cause heartburn when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Like grapes, bananas are primarily made up of fast-digesting carbs. These are great sources of energy (and helpful for menstrual cramps!), but not necessarily something to eat before bed. Instead, bananas are the ideal pre- or post-workout food, paired with fat and protein. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, look to a lower glycemic option, like raspberries or blackberries. That said, keep in mind that for some people, post-dinner fruit can cause indigestion.
Dietary fat – like the fat in whole milk – takes a long time to digest. While that’s helpful in balancing blood sugar during the day, it’s not ideal before bed. Forewarning: yogurt. Unlike a slice (or three) of cheese pizza before bed, Greek yogurt is a full-on nighttime snack that promotes sleep. It also contains many important nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium. Plus, it’s packed with probiotics — good bacteria to promote digestive health while you sleep.
Espresso flavored desserts
This goes without saying, but there are plenty of foods with sneaky sources of caffeine—think: ice cream and desserts with matcha, espresso, and coffee (matcha-flavored mochi, coffee ice cream, tiramisu, etc.). Many of these desserts, even with their subtle coffee flavors, act as a stimulant. They make it harder for you to enter the deeper stages of sleep, reducing the amount of REM sleep you normally get. Best to enjoy these dishes earlier in the day!
Acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus, can irritate the stomach lining and raise acidic pH levels in the body. This causes indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux — all of which can interfere with sleep. Cooking tomatoes also doesn’t reduce the acid enough to prevent acid reflux, so next time you’re making pizza for dinner, try whipping fresh pesto instead.
As we indulge in lots of chocolate bars, we’ve learned how hard it is not to eat our coveted squares too close to bedtime. While chocolate – especially dark chocolate – offers many health benefits, it contains a compound called theobromine that affects the body similarly to caffeine. Choose chocolate as an after-lunch or mid-afternoon dessert with a spoonful of almond butter.
Can soy sauce affect sleep? Research says, yes. Fermented soy products have some of the highest amounts of tyramine, an amino acid found in fermented foods. Think: soy sauce, tofu, miso, and even teriyaki sauce should be avoided a few hours before snoozing. Tyramine can increase brain activity and potentially cause insomnia.
While garlic is very high in allicin (a compound that can naturally relax the mind), it is also a digestive tract stimulant. For most, it’s best to avoid eating large amounts of it in the evening. Furthermore, garlic increases the body’s production of saliva and gastric juices, which can make it impossible to easily get lost in your dream realm.
Onions are one of the leading causes of sleep disorders. Onions produce gas as they move through your digestive system. That gas affects the pressure in your stomach, which can cause acid to back up into your esophagus — especially when you’re lying flat. Sadly, both raw and roasted onions have this effect. Try swapping onions for dill, leeks, or cabbage (when making dinner).