Brandon Shea/Flickr
Brandon Shea/Flickr

You're probably tired - if not now then you might have been yesterday, or you will be tomorrow.

Science tells us that a decent amount of sleep is good for our health. We know that it's important. But sleep, or lack of, so often fails us. All that lavender pillow spray doesn't seem to quite do the trick. Your ocean waves CD isn't working.

Food and drink plays a significant role in our repose - we all know about the occasionally alarming nature of cheese dreams.

According to sleep experts and nutritionists, these foods are best avoided if you want some necessary shut-eye.

Bacon cheeseburgers

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Such high levels of fat is a big no-no before bedtime. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can cause discomfort such as heartburn or indigestion, says Medical Daily. Also, cheeseburgers and bacon are high in salt, which can have an impact on sleep quality.


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Alcohol is bad for sleep. According to Dr Russell Rosenberg on, research suggests even just one drink in the hours before bed can delay drifting off. Drinking can also reduce the quality of sleep, not just the amount you have.


Antti T. Nissinen/Flickr

Oats contain meletonin, which is a chemical that helps induce sleep. However, they also have a lot of soluble fiber that can have adverse effects, Health Tap's Dr Robert Kwok notes. If you have an oaty supper, your body will be struggling to digest it while you're trying to catch those z's, and oats can also produce a lot of, erm, gas, which might interrupt sleep.


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Probably a more obvious one is coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant, which does you no favours if you're hoping to calm down. People respond differently to the chemical effects, but it's almost certainly a bad idea to have coffee at night - or any other drink that has caffeine on its ingredients list, like Red Bull, or Coca Cola.

Dark chocolate


Like coffee, dark chocolate contains caffeine. It's not as much as its liquid counterpart, but it's still there, ruining your dreams. Chocolate also comes with a dose of theobromine, another stimulant that can increase your heart rate and amplify the chances of sleeplessness. Sugar doesn't help either, says Live Strong.



We're sure you love a tikka masala in front of a Netflix box set. It might even relax you enough to help you snooze. But apparently the spices in curries can keep you awake. One study, in Australia, found that young men who poured Tobasco sauce and mustard on/in their dinner found it more difficult to get to sleep, and were in a much lighter state than those who had a blander dinner. Another in The International Journal of Psychology concluded that spices 'activate your senses' and hinder rest.

Big protein

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Looking for those gains post-gym? Sadly, foods high in protein, such as chicken or steak, can prove counterproductive if consumed late in the evening. Dr Rosenberg says digestion slows when you're asleep, and the body digests protein slowly anyway, which means it's focusing on that rather than getting a food night's rest. Turkey or yoghurt are better alternatives.

Ice cream


The ever-popular ice cream should be avoided before bed. The high levels of sugars and carbobydrates send the brain into overdrive, says the nutritionist Dr Gangemi. You might find you put on a bit of weight as well of course.


More: Why you definitely should try to get more sleep

More: Seven 'healthy foods' that are really junk foods in disguise

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