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Foods to avoid before bedtime

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Wednesday 31st October 2012

Evening meals should be carefully planned in terms of both what you eat and when you eat it in relation to your bedtime. Eating too close to the time you’re planning to go to bed, regardless of what you eat, is never a good idea as the digestion process can take hours and isn’t compatible with relaxation. Choosing the wrong foods though can be a more costly mistake, with sleep being sacrificed as the body copes with the after-effects.

Here are some foods to steer clear of in the late evening:


Pasta is full of carbohydrates, giving the body an instant energy boost. That’s why it’s often the pre-event meal of choice for sportspeople. That’s also one of the reasons why it shouldn’t be eaten prior to going to bed, as it’ll leave you alert and active at the most inopportune time. Furthermore, unspent carbs turn into stored fat while you lie in bed, making a meal that would normally be a healthy choice into anything but.


Chocolate is one of the most caffeine-loaded foods available, delivering a stimulating hit of energy that’s simply the opposite of what you need before bed.

Spicy foods

Hot and spicy foods tend to generate more stomach acid compared to plain foods, and this can risk a number of intensive bodily reactions including heartburn and acid reflux – both extremely uncomfortable conditions that make sleep virtually impossible.

Ice Cream

The popular dessert generally has a high fat content that makes digestion particularly slow, along with excessive sugar levels that directly impact on sleeping patterns.

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