Four Healthy Foods That Might Be Keeping You up at Night
While you may be doing a great job staying away from greasy, spicy and sugary foods at dinnertime, ever wonder what’s still keeping you up at night? According to Maggie Moon, MS, RD, author of The MIND Diet and Los Angeles–based dietitian, the following healthy foods you may be eating at dinnertime could be stealing your sleep.
Pro: a good source of protein
Con: higher in saturated fat
Hard cheeses like Swiss, cheddar, blue and Parmesan can be challenging to digest, especially when you’re laying down too soon after eating them. This can make it easier for acid reflux to happen, causing discomfort and burning in the chest. There’s also the risk of heartburn.
Alternative: a glass of milk
It can help you fall asleep due to the amino acid tryptophan it contains, which some say can help relax you.
Note: If you are still craving hard cheese, eat it at least four hours before bedtime.
Pro: Rich in polyphenols
These are micronutrients packed with antioxidants.
Con: Contains caffeine
A square or two of dark chocolate has about a quarter of the caffeine as a cup of coffee, and about half the caffeine as a cup of green or black tea.
Alternative: tart cherry juice with a few walnuts
Both provide melatonin, which helps regulate sleep and promote drowsiness.
Note: If you are still craving a dark-chocolatey treat, eat it at least six hours before bedtime to allow your body enough time to remove the caffeine.
Pro: contain antioxidants
Con: contain caffeine and high in sugar
Matcha is the powdered form of green tea. Matcha-infused snacks can contain almost 30 grams of sugar per serving. Having too much over time can cause spikes in blood sugar that then cause a steep drop and usually feelings of extreme hunger. Plus, green tea contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as one cup of brewed coffee, so falling asleep won’t be so easy.
They contain antioxidants, monosaturated fat, protein and fiber, which can keep you full longer and keep you from waking up hungry. They are also sugar- and caffeine-free.
Note: If you are still craving a matcha-infused snack, eat it at least six hours before bedtime to allow your body enough time to remove the caffeine.
Pro: an excellent source of protein and iron
Con: high in saturated fat
The protein and saturated fat in beef is too heavy and hard to digest fully close to bedtime.
Alternative: Grilled chicken or turkey breast
Both are a leaner alternative and have much less saturated fat.
Note: If you’re still craving beef, eat it at least four hours before bedtime.
“5 Healthy Foods That Are Keeping You Up at Night,” Isadora Baum, health.com, Feb. 20, 2019.