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Foods That Can Disrupt Sleep

26 May 2017
  Home Care Assistance of Prescott

What You Eat and When You Eat It Can Dramatically Affect the Quality of Your Sleep

As we age, our sleep patterns change. Older adults tend to have more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep than their younger selves. Despite the myth that the aging body doesn’t require as much sleep, it’s crucial for individuals of any age to get a sound night’s sleep for physical and mental well-being. Quality sleep, however, is essential to our physical health and mental well-being at any age. 

If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, then one or more of these foods could be the culprit. Below are 9 foods you should avoid eating before bed so that you can sleep more soundly and wake more rested.


Forgo celery for up to 90 minutes before bed if you want to avoid frequent trips to the restroom. Foods like celery, watermelon and cucumbers contain a high water content and serve as natural diuretics.


Tomatoes contain the amino acid, tyramine, which “triggers the brain to release norepinephrine, a stimulant that boosts brain activity and delays sleep.” Avoid eating tomatoes and other tyramine-rich foods like soy sauce, eggplant, red wine and aged cheeses after dinner.


Because cheese pizza is high in fat, it takes longer for the body to digest and can cause discomfort that interferes with sleep. Avoid eating pizza and other fatty foods for up to 3 hours before bedtime.


Although a post-dinner cocktail or glass of wine may help you fall asleep quicker, they do disrupt rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Lack of quality REM sleep can lead to declines in memory, concentration and motor skills. Allow 2 to 4 hours between your evening cocktail and bedtime.


This dish can seriously sabotage your sleep by causing stomach-rumbling gas pains. If you are craving a big bowl of chili, eat it for lunch instead of dinner.


Enjoying a small piece of dark chocolate daily can help keep your heart healthy, but just make sure not to eat it right before bed. Dark chocolate contains caffeine, and if you are caffeine-sensitive then you may find yourself staring at the ceiling rather than snoozing peacefully. Avoid nibbling on dark chocolate for 4 to 6 hours before bed.


Pouring a little hot sauce on your taco may delight your taste buds, but it will also likely give you a bad case of heartburn if you eat in within 3 hours of bedtime.


High protein foods like steak are slow to digest and can interfere with some quality zzz’s. If you have a hankering for steak, eat it for lunch or at least 3 hours before you turn in for the night.


Broccoli is packed with nutrition, but its slow-to-digest fiber will keep your body working hard throughout the evening. Broccoli also contains an indigestible sugar that will produce uncomfortable gas. To ensure a restful night’s sleep, eat broccoli for lunch instead of dinner.

Going to bed hungry or too full will also prevent you from having a peaceful slumber. Being mindful of what we put into our bodies at the end of the night will help set you up for success and a night of little or no tossing and turning. Stay away from stimulates like coffee and energy drinks and keep a light snack like peanuts or a piece of fruit handy to help you curb your late night hunger pains! 

If you or an elderly loved one needs high-quality care and companionship, the team at Home Care Assistance of Prescott is here to help. Call 928-771-0105 today to speak with me or one of our friendly Client Care Managers.


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