10 foods to avoid before bed

Foods that won’t help you nod off at night

Does this sound like a normal night for you? You climb in to bed around 11pm feeling really tired after running around after the kids all day, get comfy and close your eyes ready to drop-off to sleep, but no matter how much you try to switch-off and relax, you find yourself still tossing and turning three hours later.

Not being able to sleep at night is not only frustrating, but usually makes you grumpy and bad-tempered the next morning too. In the long-term, sleepless nights can also impact on your health and your waistline – just an hour’s less shut-eye a night means you’re more likely to snack on sugary, salty junk food the following day to help keep you awake.

In fact, what you eat before putting on your pyjamas can make all the difference to how well you’ll sleep full stop. These ten foods are best avoided before bed for a restful night’s sleep…

Beans on toast

They’re renowned for making you windy because they’re slow to digest, so it’s not a good idea to eat beans before bed if you want to be comfy. Bread, especially the white, processed stuff, is also best avoided because the sugar will cause an energy spike.

Bacon and eggs

Save your bacon and eggs for breakfast if you want to get your full eight hours. Greasy food, especially red meat, is hard for the body to breakdown so your stomach will be making all sorts of funny noises.


Had a bad day? Don’t reach for the ice-cream! It’s packed with fat and sugar, not what your body or brain need to relax after a long day.

Cheese and crackers

That old-wives tale that you shouldn’t eat cheese before bed does hold some truth. It might not necessarily give you nightmares, but it might well keep you up thanks to a chemical in cheese that makes your brain work even harder.


We’re all guilty of tucking in to a late night pizza with the other half in front of the telly, but it’s probably to blame when you can’t nod off a few hours later – and not just thanks to indigestion. Large meals might make you feel tired, but when you lie down your poor tummy will be doing somersaults trying to break down all those stodgy carbs. Eat a slice at lunchtime instead.


Say no to spicy food before bed unless you want to be kept awake by heartburn, bloating and wind. Not pleasant, especially for the poor person that you have to share a duvet with!


We’re definitely guilty of filling up on this one as a midnight treat! Lots of cereals contain barley, oats and bran which slow down digestion. Warm milk is a much more tummy-soothing option.


Drift off more easily by saving the sugary sweets for the school run when you really need an energy boost.

Dark chocolate

Sleep-zapping caffeine is not just hiding in tea, coffee, cola or energy drinks. It’s also lurking in dark chocolate. Swap your fix for a couple of squares of white chocolate instead and still satisfy that sweet tooth.


Heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux – sleep much more easily by steering clear of garlic at dinner time.

Where to next?

Foods to help you sleep
What to eat for more energy
Take our sleep test to find out what’s really stopping you sleeping
10 beauty products to help you sleep