We all know that eating and sleeping has close relationship with each other, especially dinner. In my previous article “What to Eat before Sleep? – Top 14 Foods Help Sleep Well” I focus on discussing which foods before going to bed are good for sleeping well and helping sleep. Today in this article I am going to discuss unhealthy eating habits you should avoid and 10 foods you should not eat before sleep if you don’t want to count sheep till mid night or wake up several times during night.

Rich dinner is not a good thing

A Chinese singing: eat well for breakfast, be full for lunch and eat less for dinner. Eating too much and too rich may be the main reason if you cannot sleep well.

The reason behind?

It will consume a lot of energy of your body to digest and give your stomach a big burden if the dinner is too rich and heavy and also you have too much food. In this way it is not possible for you to sleep well. So my suggestions for dinner is to avoid oily, hard to digest or sweet foods. Especially high protein, fat meats, and raw or cold foods. Since these foods usually hard to digest so they are our first priority to avoid for dinner.

Eat too less or nothing is another extreme that should be avoided

Although it is not a good thing to eat too late, too much or too rich it doesn’t mean we can eat too less or nothing.

The reason behind?

Image how you can get through the whole night (8 hours normally) without enough energy supported? When you fall asleep, your body still need energy to keep normal body temperature at least even through the body temperature when you sleep is lower than it when you are awake. Especially during winter or in the area with big temperature difference between day and night the dinner is not avoidable to keep you warm during night. Some experts indicate that people who want to lose weight by not having dinner can easily be under hypoglycemia condition. Thus, they are easily awake during night and not get good sleeping quality. In addition, because of hunger during night when they wake up in the morning they are eager to supplement their regular breakfast by eating high calories, high sugar or high salt foods which should be avoided when they want to lose weight.

Sleep right after dinner is so wrong

Nutritionists recommend it is better to go to bed 3 hours after dinner.

The reason behind?

Nutritionists point out that the body position of laying down the bed is not good for digesting foods. You may want to through up if you sleep right after you are full. So we have to give our body a period to digest food. Of course, the digest time consumed depends on what kind of food we have. For example, Sardine takes at least 72 hours to digest but juice only needs several minutes to digest.

Unbalanced meals are bad

You cannot eat double amount for this meal if you skip last meal. Meals cannot be made up.

Nutritionists say those people who cannot have balanced meals during the day will eat more for dinner. It’s a vicious circle: people don’t have appetite for breakfast and lunch but they will eat a lot during dinner. Thus, the sleeping quality will be lower. Sleeping quality and eating habit have close relationship so we have to balance our three meals daily.

Now I want to talk about the foods to avoid before sleep. There are 10 categories:

1. Spicy foods      spicy foods

Spicy foods such as spicy pepper, raw garlic, and raw onion… can cause heart burn and hard digestion which can cause bad sleep.

2. Oily foods      fries

With high calories oily food, such as fries can bring a big burden to our intestine, stomach, liver, gallbladder and pancreas, stimulate our nerve ganglia to keep them in working status. Thus, we cannot sleep well for sure.

3. Foods that can stimulating nerve


Too sweet foods means a lot of sugar. You should know that don’t give your children sugar before going to bed if you have children. Why? Cause sugar can make children hyper. The same for adults too much sugar will stimulate our nerves then it is hard for us to fall asleep.


A cup of coffee definitely is not a good idea before going to bed. A cup of tea such as green tea, red tea or black tea are not recommended except chrysanthemum tea. Also, chocolate should also be in this category. Since this kind of drinks or foods will fresh you, wake you up or make you hyper.

4. Foods that can accelerate heart rate               

                    mint and ginger

Nutritionists don’t recommend foods which can accelerate heart rate, such as mint and ginger. Those will affect our sleeping quality if we have those before sleep.

But one thing we should notice, most fruits contains rich vitamin C which is strong but they will not affect our sleeping quality so we can have fruits any time.

5. The foods can generate a lot of gas when being digested


Foods like peas, beans, cabbage, onions and corns will generate a lot of gas in your stomach during digestion. How could you sleep well if you always want to fart?

6. Too much water or alcohol      alcohol

Because of busy life or not enough time during the day we may not get enough water. So after dinner, we may drink a lot of water to give our body enough water. That will make us get up several times during the night to go to washroom and how can you sleep well in this way? My suggestions is drink enough water during the day and stop drinking water 2 hours before going to bed.

Can we drink alcohol before sleep? Nutritionists point out that a little alcohol is good for our sleep but too much alcohol can cause shallow sleep and wake up several times during the night. Also, our liver need to do detoxification and help us to alleviate a hangover which will give our body a big burden.

7. Cold foods or raw meats        

                    ice cream

I know a lot of people like ice cream but it is not a good idea to have a spoon of it before going to bed. The cold foods will slow down the working process of our stomach thus we will feel uncomfortable.

                    raw meat

Raw meats normally are hard to digest so it is better to avoid them before going to bed.

8. Celery        celery

Celery contains a lot of water just like cucumber, carrot, watermelon. It is a natural diuretic drug. If you eat a lot of celeries before sleep you will wake up more times during night to go to washroom. The recommendation is to avoid celery 90 minutes before going to bed.

9. Spaghetti or pasta        spaghetti         

Spaghetti and pasta are all carbohydrate. Durum wheat as raw material has high density, high protein and high stiffness. This kind of carbohydrate can cause slow digestion. Sleep right after having it the carbohydrate can easily be transformed to fat and change the sugar amount in your blood. Thus, you cannot sleep fast and will wake up during the night.

10. Foods contains high protein or fat     


Here I mean red meats, such as beef, pork, lamb… they seems too heavy for dinner. They contains rich protein and fat so they need longer time to digest. How can you sleep well if your body working for the whole night digesting things? So it is better to avoid them before sleep.


Do you have unhealthy eating habits mentioned above? Do you eat foods in above 10 categories before going to bed? For some people who don’t have sleeping problem it may not be a big deal if they eat some foods in above 10 categories before sleep. If you have sleeping problem I strongly suggest you check the 10 foods you should not eat above and try to avoid them. Let me know how do you think? I hope you have good sleep tonight.


  1. It’s crazy how many foods can keep us up at night. I never knew half the things on this list could contribute to a bad nights sleep. No wonder i’m always up at night. I eat before I go to sleep which is more out of snacking than hunger. I also didn’t know that certain teas were not good and I love a cup of tea before going to bed. Thanks for sharing this. I have a hard time getting a good nights sleep and now I know why.

  2. Very interesting saying by the Chinese. While I tend to agree with what you and nutritionists say in regards to not sleeping after a meal.

    But I can not help but think nutritionists might be mistaken there.

    It is a medical fact that a lot of our energy is expended during the digestive process as the blood rushes to that area and resting during this time aids digestion without energy going elsewhere.

    Half the world, the siesta taking Central and South Americans as well as many Europeans and Asian can’t be wrong in enjoying a siesta after a full meal.

    Certainly, more research in this area is required to be fully conclusive.

    1. Thanks for giving different thought. Let me give you an explain.
      As mentioned in my article, sleep right after dinner is wrong but not lunch. After lunch you will only need at most 40 minutes siesta (longer siesta is not good). So during those 40 minutes you don’t have to worry about waking up or using washroom. And after siesta you may keep yourself busy by working or studying with which you will not have problem digesting food. A siesta after a full meal is good which I cannot agree more.

  3. Many thanks for tips in your post on how to give our bodies time to digest food before we go to bed. These are things we take for granted or are just not knowledgeable about. I agree with your suggestion to avoid high protein as well as oily and rich foods for dinner and rather take in something light like fruits. I now know what can disturb my sleep at night. Thanks

    1. I am so happy that my article can help people like you. It means a lot to me. If you have sleeping problem I recommend you read my other article “What to Eat before Sleep? – Top 14 Foods Help Sleep Well” so you will know what you can eat to help sleep. Wish you all the best!

  4. I had unhealthy diet like all my life. But lately i tried to change it for good because it makes me uncomfortable. Good to have a list that details the bits of every food and its effects(I heard milk or chamomile tea helps you sleep)

    1. I am glad that you start thinking about changing your life style to make yourself healthy. Yes, milk and chamomile tea is good for sleep and they are mentioned in my another article “What to Eat before Sleep? – Top 14 Foods Help Sleep Well”. You can go ahead to check it if you are interested in.

  5. Fountalety I don’t have any sleeping problem but I would try to avoid those ten category foods for my body health!
    Thanks for your helpful information 🙂

    1. You are so lucky that you don’t have sleeping problem. keeping healthy eating habits and avoiding those 10 categories foods before sleep are not just good for sleeping but also good for your health. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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