I'm a sleep expert – the best and worst foods to eat before bed & why a late night ice cream & movie combo is a BAD idea

WHEN IT comes to getting a good nights sleep, some thing are obvious.

Don't drink any coffee too close to bed time, keep your bedroom dark – the list goes on.

But did you know what what you eat can also impact how well you sleep?

The pros at Benenden Health revealed the best and worst thing to nibble on before you drift off and some off them might just surprise you.

Of course, when possible you should avoid eating late at night and steer clear of stimulants like coffee and sugar.

The sleep gurus shared: "Eat something before your body starts to wind down. Going to bed on an empty stomach drops blood sugar levels and interferes with the body’s ability to sleep well.

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The worst foods to eat before before


It's no secret that chocolate doesn't make the best late night snack, mostly due to the high caffeine and sugar content.

The pros explained: "During the latter stages of sleep, caffeine consumption can cause rapid eye movement (REM) to occur more frequently, which is why you’re more likely to feel groggy the morning after the night before."

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While the idea that eating cheese before bed will lead to bad dreams might be an old wives tale, there are other reasons you should keep this delicious food at bay at night.

"Strong or aged cheese, as well as preserved meats such as bacon, ham and pepperoni, contains naturally high levels of the amino acid, tyramine, which make us feel alert," according to the experts.

The added: "Tyramine causes the adrenal gland to release the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which increases alertness for a number of hours."


While a late night curry might sound appealing you should probably schedule your delivery earlier on in the evening.

Not only that but spicy food in general should be avoided, the pros explained that this is because of the high levels of capsaicin.

"This chemical elevates body temperature by interfering with the body’s thermoregulation process, which, in turn, disrupts sleep," they noted."

To make things worse your body will use more energy to digest the spices, making the likelihood of a good snooze adistant dream.

Ice cream

The idea of a big scoop of your favourite ice cream might be just the thing you want to go with whatever film you watch before bed, but it'll reek havoc with your sleeping pattern.

Extra sugary food like ice cream should be kept at bay once it gets late.

They can spike your blood sugar levels, which then inevitably crash once you hit the hay.

"A crash in blood sugar alerts the adrenals that there is an emergency, which, in turn, increases cortisol levels, and wakes the body from slumber," the sleep pros said.


A small packet of crisps before bed might be just the thing you wanted, but it's the last you need.

In fact, they're "some of the worst foods to eat before bed as they contributed to disrupted – or “superficial” – sleep. "

Try and avoid salty snacks for the three hours leading up to bed time.

The best foods to eat before bed

Although eating before bed in general is no recommended, there are some foods that can help you drift off.


This fruity snack is great if you're feeling peckish before bed.

Cherries contain melatonin, making them the perfect thing to eat late at night is you want a longer, deeper sleep.

Raw honey

Like Cherries, Honey is another great pre-bed snack.

The pros said: "Honey stimulates melatonin and shuts off orexin in the body: the neuropeptide that makes us feel sharp and alert.

"A mug of hot water, lemon and honey is a great evening drink for soothing the body and inducing sleep."


Although Bananas are considered a perfect snack no matter the time of day, they're especially good for before bed.

Their high magnesium levels mean they naturally relax your body muscles, making it easier to drift off.


Turkey isn't just great to have with your Sunday roast, it can also encourage a great nights sleep.

"This is because turkey is high in tryptophan: an essential amino acid that acts as a natural mood regulator."

Tryptophan can help calm the body and tackle anxiety, which all lend a helping hand in getting a peaceful slumber.

"Brown rice, fish and yoghurt also contain high levels of this calming amino acid, making these some of the best foods for sleep," they added.


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Although you should avoid almonds if they're part of a sugary snack like a muffin, on their own they work well to encourage sleep because of their magnesium content.

The sleep experts said: "Magnesium is great for regulating our blood sugar as we sleep, which means the body naturally switches from its adrenaline cycle to what is known as the rest and digest cycle."

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