Not to say all Chinese is a bad choice, but many of those local spots spike their fare with MSG, a food additive used for flavor enhancement. It can trigger a number of digestive discomforts since it takes the body longer to break it down and may cause other short-term reactions. MSG is most commonly found in heavy, deep-fried entrees, so avoid those at the very least.
Other Artificial Ingredients
Whether it’s fast food (full of artificial flavors and coloring), or anything labeled “low sugar” or “low fat,” it’s probably laced with fake sweeteners. “These go largely unrecognized in the body,” says Lindsay Segal, a physician’s assistant in training. “Your body tries to clean it out by digesting it, and this means you’re absorbing some of the chlorinated molecules in the sweeteners.”
Okay, before you totally flip, I’m not talking about avoiding all cereals. I’m a huge fan of breakfast foods and have spent many blissful nights chowing down on Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Well, blissfully ignorant no more—scarfing down a high-sugar, high-processed cereal like that is no good for anyone who has hopes of sleep in their her future. The sky-high sugar content spikes our blood sugar, making it hard to catch any ZZZs.
Steak and Other Red Meat
I always love finding another reason to shun the low-carb lifestyle. Red meat falls into the prolonged digestion category, too. Our bodies take longer to break down fat and protein, and there are loads of both in a big, juicy steak. All that extra work requires extra energy, which perks us up. A good steak is great, but best enjoyed during dinnertime at the latest.
Even the “healthiest” soups from a can are rough on our shuteye patterns, thanks to the often mile-long ingredient lists and hefty helpings of sodium. These liquid preservative bombs are usually loaded with salt and additives, harming our ability to fall asleep easily and making it likely that we’ll wake up feeling dehydrated from all that sodium.
Okay, these are normally a healthy choice because of their high fiber content, but this is what makes them a rough nighttime choice. These, as we all know, can have an awkward effect on digestion, leaving us trying to sleep amid heartburn and cramps, not to mention grumbles from your bed partner.