Foods That Can Affect Your Sleep

Sleep should be a
cornerstone of personal care. Not only can it give you more energy while
boosting your mood, it can also decrease your chances of developing long-term
heart issues and improve your mental health. The average adult needs close to eight hours of sleep every night—a
recommendation that varies based on individual needs, age and lifestyle. With
full schedules and busy households, however, many people struggle to get a
healthy amount of rest.

If you find yourself
tossing and turning when it’s time to get some shut-eye, you may want to start
figuring out what’s going wrong
with your sleep
. While many things, like stress levels and frequency of
exercise, can affect your sleep quality, your diet also plays a major role.
Food choices can make or break your night depending on the way they’re prepared
and the ingredients they contain. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of foods
that can affect your sleep, showing which ones to stay away from and which to

French fries

Fried foods contain
quite a bit of grease and fat that can sit heavily in your stomach while you
try to get to sleep. This can not only trigger heartburn but also nausea as
your body works to digest such a fatty meal. If you still want to enjoy the
occasional fried or greasy snack, including cheeseburgers and potato chips, try
to do so about five hours or more before crawling into bed.

  • Alternative: Baked sweet potato fries. Instead, swap greasy fries with baked sweet potato fries for a tasty,
    but healthier, alternative. The complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes will
    help keep you full and prevent late-night hunger pains while the nutrients
    inside the vegetable inspire your body to get sleepy. Sweet potatoes contain
    muscle-relaxing potassium that should trigger your brain to release sleep
    hormones. Plus, baking the fries avoids most of the grease in french fries but
    still provides a satisfying crunch and taste.


While alcohol may help
you fall asleep quickly, it can actually inhibit restorative sleep. Wine and
other spirits may have a surprising impact on your REM sleep, causing you to
wake up often and remain in light, shallow sleep. It can also cause nightmares
and frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. To protect your sleep, it’s
best to avoid wine or other alcoholic drinks at least four hours before bed.

  • Alternative:
    Herbal tea.
    Herbal teas, like chamomile or peppermint,
    don’t contain caffeine and can help you relax into sleep. Chamomile has been
    shown to improve sleep quality for insomniacs and others experiencing sleep
    issues, while peppermint tea helps soothe the body while also fighting nausea
    or other common sleep-disruptors.

Hot Wings

Spicy foods, like wings
or buffalo chicken, can have serious impacts on your sleep. The capsaicin that
makes most hot sauces spicy is exceptionally acidic and can trigger heartburn.
It can also raise your internal body temperature, potentially causing night
sweats and keeping you up late into the night.

  • Alternative:
    Fresh garlic.
    While not necessarily hot, fresh garlic
    can pack a punch of flavor and mild spice, while also promoting a healthy body
    and sleep cycle. Consider adding freshly pressed or chopped garlic to healthy
    meals such as pasta, mashed potatoes or fatty fish for an added boost of

Check out this infographic for even more foods that can affect your sleep. Be sure to stay mindful of what you put in your body to maintain a consistent sleep routine, and therefore, a healthy mind and body.

Infographic on Sleep and Diet

If, even after updating
your diet, you still have trouble sleeping through the night, there are some
other changes that you can make to help you drift off more consistently.

  • More comfortable bedding can prevent uncomfortable shifting all night long and help make sure you wake up feeling refreshed. A foam mattress and pillows that are resistant to clumping adapt better to your natural sleeping style than older, more traditional bedroom essentials and should reduce soreness in the morning.
  • Sticking to a bedtime schedule can also have a huge impact on your ability to fall asleep on time every night. Be sure to hold yourself accountable and continuously get into bed at the same time every night. This should help your body and natural circadian rhythms recognize a pattern and allow you to fall asleep more easily.
  • Stress relief is an essential aspect of falling asleep efficiently because it can clear racing thoughts that might prevent your brain from fully shutting down. Be sure to try out some bedtime yoga or an herbal remedy to calm down and lower your heart rate before bed.

By implementing a few of these lifestyle and dietary
changes, you should be able to enjoy a full night’s rest every single night.

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