Foods and Drinks to Avoid Before Sleep
Eating right before you fall asleep is a recipe for disaster. Not only can it lead to weight gain, but it can disrupt your usual sleep patterns and cause acid reflux. If you have to hit the fridge, make sure to avoid alcohol, soda, chocolate, cheese, nuts, citrus and coffee. These foods are either high in fat, acidity or loaded with caffeine that will keep you up all night.
Certain flavors are high in fat—which comforts and relaxes the valves, too—and it contains caffeine and a lesser-known stimulant called theobromine, essentially making it a triple whammy.
It relaxes the valves that connect the stomach and esophagus. When this happens, your body is unable to keep food where it belongs. “If you have alcohol just before bed, you’re pretty much asking to have reflux,” says Koufman.
It doesn’t get much more acidic than soda. In fact, soda is actually more acidic than anything found in nature, says Koufman. The acid damages those same valves. Plus, carbonation increases stomach pressure.
When it comes to reflux, fat is fat, whether saturated or unsaturated. So despite the fact that nuts generally contain a healthy dose of the latter, they should be avoided before bed. Cashews, walnuts, macadamias and peanuts are the worst, says Koufman, while pistachios and almonds aren’t quite so bad.
It’s another fatty food, but if you must indulge, hard varieties such as Parmesan and Swiss have less of a reflux effect than softer types such as feta and mozzarella. (Yes, that means no pizza.)
Not only is it inherently acidic, but the caffeine it contains also generates additional stomach acid. If you must sip, decaf generally has lower acid levels than regular.
It’s also highly acidic. A glass of orange juice or a green apple are your worst choices, but some people can eat red apples without problems—it depends on the person.