Sleep is important for your body and brain. You need to get enough of it and it has to be good quality sleep. That contributes to optimal health as well as energy that lasts all day. If you’ve had a hard time falling asleep or having trouble sleeping through the night there’s a good chance that you wake up feeling exhausted. Or you feel okay when you wake up but you tire easily or early in the day. Medical issues can cause these problems. But if you and your doctor have ruled those out it might be that you’re eating the wrong foods. Eating or drinking the wrong certain things at the wrong time can negatively affect your sleep. Here are 12 to avoid for a better night’s sleep…

Caffeinated tea — Any caffeinated beverage can hinder sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or increasing the chance that you’ll wake up soon.

Caffeinated soda — There are two ingredients that affect sleep, caffeine and sugar. Avoiding sodas is best, but if you have to drink soda, drink only one and have it earlier in the day.

Caffeinated coffee — Coffee may make you feel lively and energetic but afterward your energy levels may plummet. It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages, but especially important close to bedtime.

Beer — Alcohol is a depressant but it’s tricky. Several hours after going to sleep your blood sugar can spike and wake you up as your body processes the alcohol.

Wine — Wine is the same story as beer. If you’re having trouble staying asleep at night, it’s best to avoid alcohol.

Liqueur — Once again, liqueur is the same as the other alcohols. You may find yourself waking up shortly after going to sleep as your body processes the alcohol.

Peppermint — Even the smell of alcohol can make it difficult to go to sleep because it stimulates the brain, making you alert and not sleepy.

Spicy foods — Spicy foods can cause digestion problems like heartburn and acid reflux making it difficult to sleep.

Tomato based sauces — They may not seem like a problem but the acid in tomatoes can cause acid reflux and heartburn which can make it difficult to sleep.

Soups — Some soups, especially tomato based soups can keep you awake due to heartburn and acid reflux.

Chili — This is one of the worst foods to eat close to bedtime for several reasons. The first problem is that it is tomato based and  so can cause acid reflux and heartburn. It is also often spicy, which increases your chances of having heartburn. If it contains meat, like most chili, the fat can cause problems with digestion as well. All of these factors make chili one of the worst things you can eat close to bedtime.

Fried chicken — Fried chicken, and other fried foods, are terrible to eat close to bedtime. The high fat content can cause heartburn and keep you up during the night when you should be resting.

If you’re eating or drinking any of these, consider eliminating them from your diet, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping at night. If you do choose to eat them, at least have them earlier in the day. A proper diet will help you improve your chances of having a good amount of quality sleep.

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