5 Foods to Avoid Eating Before Sleep June 22nd 2016 Filed under: Healthcare Dark Chocolate: With just one small bite of a dark chocolate square we are able to satisfy our quick sweet tooth craving. In relation to calories, we feel confident that we consumed a healthy portion and this small amount of chocolate does not harm us. However, even in the smallest portion, a dark chocolate square can contain up to 25-38 percent of caffeine found in one typical cup of coffee. While all chocolate contains caffeine, those who are light sleepers should be conscious that the darker the chocolate, the higher caffeine dose it contains. Coffee: It is unrealistic to propose that everyone stops drinking coffee during the day because they do not sleep well at night. However, it is significantly more likely to affect your sleep if it is consumed mid-afternoon or later. Additionally, many believe that switching to decaf coffee in the afternoon will not disrupt their sleep. This may be true for those who are extremely tolerant to caffeine and already sleep at least 7-8 hours, but for the majority, a cup of decaf will still contain enough caffeine to disrupt sleep habits. Spicy Food: Spices can leave your stomach feeling unsettled and even lead to heartburn. Consuming spice three hours before bed will not only affect your digestive system more intensely than other foods, but often causes the body to fluctuate in temperature, resulting in more tossing, turning, and prolonging falling asleep. Alcohol: While alcohol is a muscle relaxant and appears to be an aid in falling asleep, the effect does not last through the entire duration of the night. The main consequence later in the night is concerning your rapid eye movement getting shortened, where a lack of REM sleep will continue to have negative consequences throughout the next day, creating a cyclical pattern. Chicken and Beef: Chicken and beef are key players in a healthy diet, but consumed 3 hours or closer before bed and it will only hinder your sleep. The body’s digestive system typically slows down by 50 percent throughout the night in order for our bodies to ease and fall asleep. Therefore, these foods will be using the maximum potential of digestive processing instead of our bodies winding down to rest.