Yes, several types of food can keep you awake at night. These include items rich in caffeine, alcohol, tyramine, and spicy foods.
While an energy drink or a jolt of java can help you wake up in the morning, too much caffeine throughout the day can make it difficult to sleep at night.
A study published in the Behavioral Research and Therapy journal found that caffeine caused an increase in nocturnal worry and sleeplessness.
Similarly, caffeine consumed just hours before bedtime has harmful impacts on sleep quality. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that just a moderate dose of caffeine at bedtime, three hours prior to bedtime, or six hours prior to bedtime, had significant effects on sleep disturbance.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it’s important to limit your caffeine consumption to the morning hours and only drink the amount recommended by your physician, dietitian, or nutritionist.
While some dark chocolate and a glass of wine before bedtime sound relaxing, alcohol consumption can also inhibit sleep quality.
A 2018 study published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology found that while alcohol does have an initial sedating effect, the sensation disappears after a few hours, resulting in a fragmented and disturbed sleep in the second half of the night.
To avoid disjointed sleep in the future, men should only consume two drinks a day, while women should only drink one drink a day, says the American Heart Association.
While aged cheeses (Swiss, brie, and cheddar) can add some delicious flavor to any meal, this food item is rich in tyramine, an amino acid. According to a 2017 article published in the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Letter, this stimulant can make you feel more alert.
However, before you cut cheese from your diet completely, a simple swap can make all the difference if cheese is your go-to nighttime snack. As previously mentioned, fresh cheeses (non-aged options like mozzarella, ricotta, and American cheese) contain tryptophan, which can be helpful to lull you off to sleep.
Meals that contain spicy ingredients can also disturb sleep, and not just because they can disrupt digestion. Research indicates that the increase in body temperature caused by spicy food consumption can also make sleep more difficult. Moreover, many people believe that the digestive disruption of spicy foods can lead to nightmares.