Dietitian Says This Is the Worst Food to Eat Before Bedtime—And It's a Popular One
Finding it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep? You're not alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, conservative estimates find that between 10% and 30% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia, though there are some studies that show this number to be closer to 50% to 60%. No matter if chronic insomnia is impacting 10% or 60% of the adult population, if you're one of the people suffering, it could be because of the food you're choosing to snack on late at night.
We consulted with Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of the NY Nutrition Group, and member of our medical expert board to find out exactly which food is the worst to be eating before you hit the hay—and it turns out it's a popular late-night favorite.
It's likely not the first time you've heard to stay away from eating chocolate before bedtime. While Moskovitz makes it clear that no one food is "bad" and that all foods are welcome in your diet, it's important to note that chocolate does have a significant amount of caffeine along with sugar in it compared to other foods and can leave you feeling awake throughout the night.
According to the Department of Agriculture, milk and dark chocolate can have anywhere from 9 to 12 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. Moskovitz explains that caffeine can stimulate the brain, making it ultimately more difficult to fall asleep. So, it would definitely be a wise move to skip the chocolate bar after dinner, especially when nearing bedtime.
Dark chocolate still contains some powerful antioxidants that can actually boost your body's health, so if you choose to have chocolate, it is better to have it during the day so as not to disrupt your sleep.
Moskovitz also notes to watch out for high protein foods and rich or fatty foods before bed as well. High protein foods "take longer to digest and that can disrupt the quality of sleep", says Moskovitz, while rich or fatty foods "are harder to break down and can also increase acid reflux or indigestion".
This means that these foods can have a direct impact on your ability to get a good night's rest. So, it's definitely worth it to steer clear of these foods close to bedtime, as you could significantly improve your sleep quality.
For more sleep tips, check out 7 Diet Changes You Can Make Now to Sleep Better Tonight.