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Restless Legs? Avoid These Pre-Bedtime Snacks

2 min read

man eating in bed

We all like to eat, but eating right before bed may in fact cause significant trouble with sleep. There are some foods and beverages that may be fine to eat before sleeping, but some of the worst also happen to be some of the most popular late-night foods and drinks. Here is a list of some of the largest offenders to avoid.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption prior to bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep. Many people misinterpret the drowsy effects of alcohol to mean that it is a good sleep aid. While it is true that a glass of wine may make you sleepy, it turns out that it will disrupt your sleep later in the night. So yes, it will help you to fall asleep, but it will not help you stay asleep. Some studies also suggest that there is a link between late night alcohol and triggering RLS symptoms.

Ice Cream

Not ice cream! There is hardly a more popular late night comfort food than a large bowl of ice cream. How can that be a bad thing? Well, ice cream has fats and sugars that are the enemy of quality sleep.

Fats require your body to work hard to break them down and digest them, keeping you from relaxing sufficiently to enter into deep, restful sleep. Sugars, of course, give your body that burst of energy right when you need to relax. So if you must have a bowl of ice cream, do so at least a couple of hours before bedtime.

Caffeine

Caffeine is in an added ingredient in many popular drinks and even foods. In addition to coffee, soda, dark chocolate, tea and candy bars may contain caffeine.

The problem with caffeine is that it stays in your system as much as 10 hours after you consume it. While it may not stop you from falling asleep, when your body shifts into the shallow sleep phase, the caffeine in your system will cause you to awaken more easily, disrupting your sleep patterns.

Pizza, Pasta and Spicy Foods

Heavy foods like pizza can keep your stomach working when you should be sleeping, and spicy foods can lead to heartburn, which disrupts sleep. As much as you might like that late night pizza or bowl of pasta, it is best to avoid them if you want to get a full, restful night’s sleep.

Essentially, you need to avoid food or drink with alcohol, sugars, fats and caffeine. That may seem to basically rule out all foods, but remember that eating right before bed is not the best practice anyway. Getting a good, restful night sleep is the goal. Again, those suffering from RLS need to use every tool at their disposal to fight the symptoms. Since some of the foods listed here can trigger symptoms, it is best to avoid them.