February 8, 2022

Best And Worst Foods Before Bed

the best and worst foods to eat before bed

Food is fuel, we have all heard this term before. It is typically within the context of having enough energy to do everything we need to do throughout the day. However, your food can also be fuel for sleep! We need certain minerals and vitamins in order to get great sleep. Without them, our bodies have a hard time creating melatonin and the other hormones needed to induce sleep naturally. The right foods will give you the fuel you need to sleep well. While the wrong foods can cause heartburn, or simply make it difficult to go to sleep if you eat them in the evenings. Stick around to learn all about the best and worst foods to eat before bed if you want to sleep well.

If you want to create the best breakfast in bed experience, then we highly recommend checking out our post: Breakfast in Bed: Amazing Recipes & Easy “No Mess” Tips

Don’t Go To Sleep Hungry (Or Over Eat):

try not to over eat or go to bed hungryBefore we dive deep into the best and worst types of food to eat before bed, we wanted to cover how much you should be eating. In general, it is not advised to eat right before bed. However, going to sleep hungry is an easy way to make it very difficult to fall asleep.

Which is why we recommend trying to eat your final meal a couple hours before bed. This allows you to begin the digesting process long enough to avoid heartburn when you lay down in bed. We also recommend eating a balanced amount. If you overly stuff yourself this can cause discomfort and heartburn. While too little, and you might get hungry again before going to sleep.

Eat a well-balanced amount of food and you should be fine. This amount may vary from person to person, so test it out and find the right amount of food that keeps you satiated without feeling stuffed. This will be the ideal balance in order to get to sleep at night.

The Best Food To Eat Before Bed:

The following is a list of some of the best foods to eat and snack on before heading off to sleep. Some of them are simply well balanced/not highly acidic foods that make for a great evening meal. While others have nutrients that can actually aid in healthy sleeping!

Almonds

almonds are great to eat before bedA small handful of almonds make for a wonderful evening snack. Slivered almonds are great for adding to salads or topping green beans for your dinner as well. They are a healthy nut full of healthy fats that are great for your brain and body.

They also naturally contain tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium which is ideal for promoting healthy sleep. Truly a winning combination of hormones, amino acids, and minerals to help you get great sleep.

You Might Also Enjoy: Foods High in Magnesium for Sleep

Kiwi

kiwis help you fall asleepWhile we wouldn’t recommend kiwi before bed for anyone who has trouble with heartburn, it is a wonderful fruit for inducing sleep. Kiwi is a vitamin packed healthy fruit that not only is delicious, but can also help to induce sleep.

A study even showed that people who at kiwi before bed, fell asleep 35% faster than those who didn’t! Kiwis are high in folate and serotonin, both of which can help make you feel happy and relaxed for sleep.

You May Also Like: Vitamin D And Sleep

Tart Cherry Juice

tart cherry juice has melatoninThis delicious and tart treat is packed full of melatonin! Melatonin is the sleep hormone that your body produces in order to induce sleep.

If you are looking for an alcohol-free night cap, we highly recommend a small glass of tart cherry juice.

Curious about more nightcap recipes that don’t include alcohol? Check out our post: Alcohol Free Nightcap Recipes

Turkey

turkey dinner and tryptophanWhile we love a roasted turkey on Thanksgiving, you can eat turkey all year round if you like! It is a great option for a dinner for great sleep because it is high in tryptophan. What is tryptophan you ask? Well, ot is an amino acid that our bodies need in order to produce melatonin.

If you feel like you are not falling asleep naturally and need a bit of help, it could be that you are not getting enough tryptophan in your diet. Easting turkey regularly could be helpful in order to help your body produce melatonin and induce sleep naturally.

Cereal and Almond Milk

great meals to eat before bedFirst, we would like to mention that you should avoid any cereal that is super high in sugar. Instead look for a healthy grain-based cereal that has a good balance of fiber that works well for you. A healthy cereal combined with almond milk is a wonderful meal or snack to have before bed.

Just like the raw nut, almond milk is high is high in sleep-promoting hormones and minerals, including tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium. This combination really makes for a winning combination for anyone looking to get great sleep.

Bananas

bananas are great for sleepAnother wonderful fruit that is great for encouraging healthy sleep! Bananas have a good amount of potassium and magnesium, which makes them a great food to eat regularly in order to get great sleep.

Potassium helps to encourage muscle relaxation, while magnesium calms you down. Making the combination wonderful for sleep.

Spinach

healthy foods to eat before bedLooking to make a salad that is great to eat before bed? Well, then we recommend adding lots of fresh spinach. It is high in tryptophan, folate, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C which your body uses to synthesize serotonin and melatonin.

Both of which are used to induce sleep naturally. For best results, eat your spinach fresh and raw. Frozen, canned, and/or cooked spinach will lower the amount of vitamins you are consuming.

Caffeine Free Tea:

caffeine free teaNothing quite like winding down for the night than sipping on a soothing cup of tea. Of course, you should avoid any highly caffeinated teas like green or black tea. However, there are plenty of tea designed to be enjoyed before bed.

From herbal tea, fruity decaf tea, to tea designed for putting you to sleep. There are simply an endless amount of tea you can drink before bed. If you are interested to discover some of our personal favorites, click the link below.

Check out our favorite tea to drink at bed time: Best Tea For Sleep – Top 8 Bedtime Teas

The Worst Food To Eat Before Bed:

While some foods can make it easier to fall asleep, others can do the exact opposite. The following is a list of foods that could make it harder for you to get to sleep at night. Which is why we would not recommend that you eat them before bed.

Caffeine

don't drink coffee in the eveningsCaffeine does something very specific to our brains. It actually stimulates our central nervous system and it blocks neurotransmitter adenosine’s receptors. Essentially making us feel jolted with energy and unable to detect when we are actually feeling rather tired. For obvious reasons, this is an issue if your goal is to at some point, go to sleep.

While it is well known that caffeine keeps your awake and makes it hard to sleep. What many people do not know or realize, is that caffeine can remain active in your system for over 6 hours! Which means that afternoon pick me up could be what is making it hard for you to get to sleep at night.

Considering cutting our caffeine? Check out our post – Caffeine Free: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine

Chocolate

chocolate is full of sugarSpeaking of caffeine, add chocolate to the list of foods to be warry of eating before bed. Dark chocolates that are high in cocoa tend to have a low level of caffeine in them. This is important to note if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine.

Chocolate typically also comes with a lot of sugar. Foods that are high in sugar can really jolt your energy level and make it difficult to calm down and get to sleep. (Often noticed in children with they sugar rush typically followed by a crash). While the crash may leave you passing out, it is not  recommended way to prepare for bed.

Alcohol

alcohol is bad for sleepA common misconception is that alcohol helps you to get great sleep. While it may make you feel tired, or fall asleep faster, it typically lowers your overall sleep quality. It prevents you from going through all of the stages of sleep needed for healthy sleep. Which can leave you feeling groggy and tired the following day.

While heavy drinking and getting drunk can ruin your sleep all together. Preventing you from getting to bed on time, making you feel sick, and leaving you with a hangover the next day. Drinking alcohol to the point of inebriation is never recommended for your health and wellbeing. Especially when it comes to getting great sleep and feeling well rested in the morning.

Learn more about how alcohol impacts your sleep in our post: Our Guide To Why Alcohol and Sleep Don’t Mix

Foods High In Acid

avoid highly acidic foodsAcidic foods can absolutely add to heartburn troubles at night. If you are someone who has a hard time with heartburn in the evenings, then we highly recommend avoiding foods that are highly acidic.

A few examples of highly acidic foods are… Tomatoes, vinaigrettes, citrus fruits, dairy products, alcohol, and many more. Diets like the Alkaline Diet focus on eating foods that are not acidic.

Learn more about Acid Reflux And Sleep!

Fatty Foods

eat less greasy foodFoods that are high in fat take much longer to digest than foods that are lower in fat. (Yes, this includes all those healthy fats found in nuts, fish, and avocados.)

Because it takes longer to digest, it can cause distress to your digestion. It can also mean your dinner will cause you to experience heartburn if you lay down too quickly after eating. Which is why we do not recommend eating fatty foods right before bed.

Lots of Sugar

avoid high sugar foodsIf you eat something high in sugar right before bed, you are going to have a hard time getting to sleep right away. When you eating simple sugars or foods containing corn syrup, it typically spikes your blood sugar. This briefly gives you’re a boost in hyper energy.

Making it feel impossible to get to sleep. While the blood sugar crash will leave you feeling loopy and sleepy, it is not recommended to try and do this before bed. Instead, just avoid sugary foods for a few hours before you plan on going to sleep instead.

Spicy Foods

spicy foods can cause heartburnThere are a couple of reasons why we do not recommend eating spicy food before bed. The first is that spicy foods can often cause gastrointestinal distress. Especially for anyone who struggles with heartburn. Skip the hot wings if you are worried about it burning while you’re trying to sleep later.

Another reason to avoid spicy food before bed is that it raises your internal body temperate. Which can actually make it harder to get comfortable for sleep and cause you to wake up feeling hot and sweaty.

Fast Food

don't eat fast food before bedOften fast-food places combine several things we recommend avoiding eating before bed. High fat, high sugar, large amounts of food. Fast food are often simple carbs, high sugar, high fat foods that make it delicious and have large portions.

Leaving you overly stuffed and highly likely to experience heartburn and discomfort while digesting. While now more than ever there are some good options at fast food restaurants, it is generally recommended to avoid if you are looking to eat and sleep well.

LOTS of Water

avoid drinking lots of water before bedHere us out. Water is of course wonderful for us. However, drinking LOTS of water right before bed is an easy way to find yourself waking up in the middle of the night because you need to go to the bathroom. This is not only true for water but all liquids.

So be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day and stop drinking water before bed. This way you can sleep peacefully throughout the night without having to wake up and walk to the bathroom.

Click the link to learn how to stay hydrated in order to get great sleep! Sleep & Hydration

Peppermint

peppermint tea makes you feel alertI once had a math teacher give us peppermint gum during a test to stay awake. Don’t eat, drink, or chew peppermint before bed. Although those free peppermints out the door may look enticing, skip it. Peppermint is a heartburn trigger and you’ll be glad we warned you. Even brushing your teeth with a mint flavored toothpaste may give you a brief uplift. But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up brushing your teeth before bed to still sleep well!

Is is time to cut the coffee. Visit our page Caffeine Free: The Benefits of Quitting Caffeine to learn how you could be getting better sleep and get more energy without caffeine.

Best and Worst Foods Before Bed – Final Thoughts:

At the end of the day, it is up to you to determine what foods work best for you and your sleep. If something on our Best Foods upsets your stomach or you just don’t like it, then don’t eat it! While perhaps something on our Worst Foods list does not bother you in the slightest. It is all worth trying to determine what does and does not work for you and how you sleep. We picked out foods that generally help you get great sleep, or a lot of people have trouble with when eating before bed. We hope this list at least gives you a good jumping off point in discovering what foods are good for you to eat before bed.

healthy food to eat for better sleep

Any questions about the best and worst foods before bed? Or, any sleep, mattress or bedding questions you have for us? We’d be happy to help. Our Sleep Guide is here to help and all you need to do is Contact Us.