3. Fatty Foods
There are three big reasons not to indulge in greasy burgers, fries, and full-fat ice cream during the day. You can guess the first—they’re unhealthy and fattening. But the other two relate to sleep. If you have acid reflux or even just suffer from occasional heartburn, fatty meals can wake you—painfully—many times a night. Fatty foods are harder to digest, so they’re in your digestive system longer, requiring more acid to break them down. And they can contribute to weight gain by interfering with your sleep. Studies suggest that a high fat diet may decrease your sensitivity to orexin, a chemical that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Rats on a high fat menu stopped responding effectively to orexin, decreased their physical activity, and gained weight.
4. Spicy Foods
Of course, we all know that spicy foods can lead to indigestion and that can keep us up at night. But that’s only one way that evening enchilada can interfere with our ZZZs. One small study found that a spicy meal (the researchers doused it with Tabasco sauce and mustard) kept their subjects up at night possibly because it increased their body temperatures. A night-time drop in body temperature is suspected to be an essential trigger for sleep.