The foods you should never eat before bed if you want to get a better night’s sleep from chips to sweets

As we enter the long-awaited spring months the clocks have moved on and the days are finally getting longer. After the long tiring winter, the brighter evenings may have messed up our nightly routines. But did you know that what we eat before bed can affect our sleep quality?

Sleeping well is incredibly important to your overall health. It can reduce the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, keep the brain healthy, and strengthen the immune system. But for those of us who enjoy a snack before bed, there are a few things we should avoid eating before falling asleep. We spoke to a London-based nutritionist for all the best advice.

TO KNOW MORE:The best and worst foods to eat for breakfast if you’re desperate to lose weight, according to a nutritionist

A number of foods aren't ideal for us before bed
A number of foods aren’t ideal for us before bed

The worst food and drink to consume

Caffeine and Sugar

It seems obvious, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is the opposite of what you want when preparing for a relaxing sleep. And sugar gives you energy, not ideal when we want to relax.

British TV presenter and registered nutrition therapist Thalia Pellegrini, 46, explained: “Sugar and caffeine mess with our blood sugar level. Our blood sugar level naturally falls overnight anyway, but all that causes it. a sharp drop during the night could wake you up or make you feel lousy in the morning.

Be sure to check the nutrition labels. Many foods contain caffeine, even when you don’t expect it. Tea and soda are generally caffeinated unless otherwise noted.

The caffeine and sugar make it harder to slip into the deeper stages of sleep and reduce the amount of REM sleep you would normally get.

Sugary foods, such as ice cream and sweets, cause blood sugar levels to rise in the beginning, which then plummet while you sleep. A drop in blood sugar alerts the adrenal glands that there is an emergency, which, in turn, raises cortisol levels and wakes the body from sleep.


It may seem like a few beers, a couple of glasses of wine, or a shot will help you fall asleep. However, alcohol, especially in excess, can be harmful before going to bed.

“Alcohol probably helps you doze off,” Thalia said. “But it disrupts your natural sleep cycle later in the night. This can reduce the amount of restful REM sleep you get. Even if you fall asleep quickly, you won’t wake up rested.”

Drinking alcohol relaxes all the muscles in the body which can exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, which can constantly wake you up throughout the night. This is all before explaining the “hangover anxiety” that alcohol can cause the next day, which can prevent you from falling asleep.

French fries

Too much salt dehydrates the body and increases water retention, causing tiredness and fatigue.

A study by the European Society of Endocrinology found that salty foods, such as salted chips and nuts, were some of the worst foods to eat before bed as they contributed to disturbing – or “superficial” – sleep. Experts recommend staying away from salty foods at least two to three hours before bed if you need to sleep well.

And if nothing else, waking up to get a glass of water is just a real pain.

Shot of a young woman using a laptop while sitting in her bedroom
The pre-sleep fries are a must

The best food to eat before bed

If you’re feeling a little peckish before bed, there are some nutritionist-approved snacks.

Thalia said, “I always recommend something small – some oatmeal, carrot and humus pie, cold chicken or turkey. They’re great because they help sleep with tryptophan – which helps us sleep.”

Tryptophan is one of the many amino acids found in foods that contain proteins. Research has shown that increasing tryptophan in the blood directly increases both serotonin and melatonin, both feel-good hormones that improve our sleep-wake cycle and the quality and quantity of our sleep.

Carrots and houmous can be good.  stuffed pre-sleep snack
Carrots and houmous can be good. stuffed pre-sleep snack

Cherries are known to be one of the best sleep foods as they naturally contain melatonin. Having a snack of cherries or drinking cherry juice can help promote a longer and deeper sleep

Bananas are a great all-round food, but if you usually eat a banana for breakfast, you might think about enjoying this exotic fruit before bed.

They are one of the best sleep foods, thanks to their high levels of magnesium which relax the muscles and calm the body. Try sliced ​​banana with a spoonful of natural nut butter before bed if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

When should I eat in the evening?

Eating a meal too close to bedtime can actually harm your sleep, especially if it involves a large amount of food. As a general rule, nutritionists will tell you to wait about three hours between your last meal and bedtime.

This allows for some digestion and gives the stomach contents time to move into the small intestine.

Eating also stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that helps the body use food for energy. This process can change your body’s circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Food can signal wakefulness in the brain and interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

But if you need a pre-sleep snack after eating, make sure it’s none of the vetoed foods mentioned above. Sweet Dreams.

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