Foods That Steal Your Sleep (and 10 That Help)

Posted: February 1, 2009 in food, health, nutrition, Nutrition Tidbits, Uncategorized
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At some point or another, it happens to everyone: You can’t sleep. When you finally drop off, the alarm buzzes a microsecond later. Then, you can’t get up. And then, it gets worse: When you finally drag yourself out of bed, you look like you-know-what. 

Can’t imagine why the sleep gods had it in for you? Think about what you ate the night before, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author ofThe Food & Mood Cookbook. Any of the following — much less a combo platter — can leave your body on uneasy street for hours:

• Spicy foods: Garlic, chilies, cayenne, and other intense spices are yummy going down, but they can keep you up with heartburn or indigestion. Avoid MSG, too, as it can trigger dreams that are a bit too vivid.

• A big dinner: An overtaxed digestive system takes hours to settle down, and there’s nothing restful about that. When sleep’s critical, make lunch your largest meal, and enjoy a light 500-calorie dinner early in the evening.

• Raucous veggies: Eat those good-for-you-but-gassy foods — beans, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts — in the middle of the day. A tankful of gas can keep anyone up at night.


• Speed eating: Relax and enjoy meals to avoid swallowing air, another common cause of midnight tummy trouble.

• Nightcaps: Alcohol may make you drowsy at first, but later on it disturbs sleep patterns and leads to awakenings and restlessness. A 4-ounce glass of wine with dinner won’t hurt, as long as it’s not within 2 hours of bedtime. 


• Coffee after breakfast: Caffeine can linger in your body for as long as 12 hours. So if you’re often wide-eyed at bedtime, make sure you’re caffeine-clean for at least 12 hours. (Skip tea, chocolate, cola, or other caffeine culprits, too.) Still watching the clock at 2 a.m.? Wean yourself off even morning java, then stay caffeine-free for 2 weeks. If you definitely sleep better, you have your answer: Caffeine is not your friend. If the results are mixed, “Try adding back a cup or two of coffee or tea in the morning and watch what happens,” says Somer. “But if sleeplessness comes back, cut it out.”

Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night doesn’t just make your eyes bright, your skin happy, and your mind sharp, it can also make yourRealAge as much as 3 years younger.

10 Top Sleep Boosters
Nibble on one of these 10 high-carb calmers an hour before bedtime — you’ll be yawning in no time. 


1. Half of a whole-wheat English muffin or raisin bagel drizzled with honey 

2. Two cups of air-popped popcorn

3. A small slice of angel food cake topped with berries  

4. A frozen whole-wheat waffle, toasted, with maple syrup

5. Half a cup of pretzels

6. Fresh strawberries dunked in a little fat-free chocolate syrup

7. Half a cup of pasta topped with marinara sauce

8. A 4-ounce baked potato topped with salsa

9. A handful of oyster crackers and a piece of fruit 

10. Canned mandarin oranges sprinkled with crystallized ginger

—-RealAge Website


Get Strong! Stay Strong! ( and sleep well!)


  1. […] bilesfamilychiro wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  2. […] Foods That Steal Your Sleep Can’t imagine why the sleep gods had it in for you? Think about what you ate the night before, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author ofThe Food & Mood Cookbook.  Mail this post […]

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