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Six foods that keep you awake

Six foods that keep you awake

In fact, chronic sleep deprivation can affect both your physical and mental well-being and increase the risk of certain health conditions, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 


Many factors, including food choices, may make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.

Below are six foods and beverages that may keep you awake at night: 

Caffeinated foods and beverages

When you think of foods and drinks that give you immediate energy, coffee and other caffeinated products may come to mind.

This is because caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, meaning it increases feelings of alertness and makes you feel more awake and energised.

Because of this effect, caffeinated foods and beverages, including soda, coffee, caffeinated tea and caffeinated chocolate products, may negatively affect sleep and keep you awake at night.

This lack of sleep due to caffeine consumption may lead you to drink a lot of caffeine the next day to counteract feelings of tiredness, which can negatively affect the next night’s sleep.

Some people refer to this cycle as the coffee cycle while some people are very sensitive to caffeine and experience sleep-related issues even if they consume a small amount, others can have caffeinated beverages closer to bedtime without experiencing sleep issues.

This is due to genetic variations. 

Spicy foods

Eating spicy foods close to bedtime may keep you awake for several reasons.

Spicy foods are known to cause indigestion and worsen symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.

When you lie down to go to sleep, these spicy food-related symptoms can become worse, as an acid may travel into the oesophagus, causing irritation.

This can keep you awake at night and lead to sleep disturbances.

Again eating spicy foods, like chili peppers, slightly increases your core and surface body temperature. 

High glycemic index foods and added sugar 

Foods that have a high glycaemic index (GI) rapidly increase blood sugar levels. 

These foods include refined carbs such as white bread, sweets and foods with high amounts of added sugars.

That said, research on the effects of high GI foods on sleep shows mixed results.

Some studies link high GI diets with insomnia and sleeping issues, while others suggest a high GI meal decreases the amount of time it takes people to fall asleep.

There are several reasons why a high glycemic diet and foods high in added sugar and refined grains seem to be associated with poor-quality sleep.

Fatty foods

Eating foods high in fat, including fried chicken and fatty meats, may contribute to poor sleep.

Research shows that greater fat intake, especially saturated fat, may negatively affect your sleep pattern.


Fast food and other ultra-processed foods

Ultra-processed foods fast food and packaged snacks may not be the best choice for restful sleep.

Research consistently links diets high in ultra-processed foods to poor sleep quality and short sleep duration.

Alcoholic drinks 

Alcohol reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, but it leads to sleep disturbances later in the night.

To promote restful sleep, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol before bed.


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