If you're having trouble falling—or staying—asleep at night, your diet could be to blame. Steer clear of these top sleep saboteurs, and you should be getting a good night's rest in no time, says dietitian Shelly Redmond, R.D., author of Eat Well and Be Fabulous.
You know that caffeine will keep you wide-awake, but what you may not realize? Coffee and soda aren't the only culprits. Some OTC meds contain caffeine, too, as do many teas. If you're caffeine-sensitive, start opting for decaf and checking the labels of any meds you're planning to take about eight hours before bedtime.
A glass of wine might sound like it'll help you relax and fall asleep, but studies have actually found that alcohol causes frequent waking at night, says Redmond. See, while booze may help you drift off, it also reduces REM sleep—and without it, you won't feel like you've logged any shuteye at all. So stick to just one glass no more than one to two hours before bed to avoid a rocky night.
Water is great for weight loss and staying healthy but can have the unfortunate side effect of waking you up for middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks. And not only do 2 a.m. restroom runs interrupt your sleep cycle, but they can also cut into your REM sleep. Try to avoid drinking fluids 60-90 minutes before your usual bedtime to make sure you actually spend all night in bed.
|Aged and Fermented Foods|
Tyramine, an amino acid found in aged and fermented foods, stimulates the brain and could keep you up at night as a result. Aged cheese, smoked fish, and cured meats all contain it—so if you must have a cheesy snack before bedtime, stick to the fresh stuff, like mozzarella.
Anything with a lot of acid can cause heartburn and discomfort during the night—and that includes tomato-based foods and spicy dishes. To prevent tossing and turning, Redmond recommends staying away from these types of foods at least three hours before you hit the sack.