1. Red meat
If you're partial to some cow et frites of a weekend evening, you'll probably find it harder than usual to nod off after your meal. Foods that are high in fat and protein are harder for the body to digest, which can throw off your poor, hard-working Circadian rhythm totally off track. Don't want to give it up altogether? Try eating your red meat at lunchtime for a better post-steak snooze.
2. Fried foods
Chips, chicken, basically anything that's coated in batter and utterly delicious should also be off the menu if you're struggling sleep-wise. It's a similar principle to the steak, but more about the fat content, which makes your digestive system work crazy hard, and can also lead to heartburn. Bake your food for a lower level of fat, and eat as early as possible to avoid nighttime interference.
Part of this is down to the caffeine content, obvs, but a lot of people don't realize that even milk chocolate contains other stimulants, including a kind of amino acid called tyrosine; and theobromine, which causes your heart rate to increase (not as terrifying as it sounds, but enough to screw up a good night's sleep). On the plus side, good ol' white chocolate doesn't contain these stimulants, so you now have a solid reason to get reacquainted with that.
Whether it's a super hot curry or a spicy chili sauce, spicy foods give you indigestion, contain capsaicin, an ingredient in chilli peppers that plays havoc with your body temperature, and there's even some evidence that they can give you some pretty crazy dreams. If other seasonings just don't float your boat in the same way, limit your spicy feasts to days when you can lie in and make up for the lost hours.
Tomatoes are really acidic, a quality that, again, can impact digestion and make you too uncomfortable to sleep. They also give you a release of tyramine, an amino acid which prompts the creation of norepinephrine, an unpronounceable substance that can increase brain activity and stop you from sleeping. Cutting out toms could be the secret to the best night's sleep you've had in ages. Ditch them for a week and see what difference it makes.
6. Salad vegetables
They're healthy in basically every other respect, so salad veggies might seem like the perfect nutritious late-night snack—until you consider their high water content, and the fact that liquid, even when you're not drinking it, will probably get you up in the night to use the loo. You don't have to ditch salad altogether; as long as you eat them around 90 minutes before bedtime to allow your body to process the water, you should sleep through uninterrupted.
Okay, so medication is not a food per se, but it's still something you consume that can have a big impact on your hours of shuteye. Some medication, such as painkillers, often contains a dose of caffeine, as studies have shown that it may give a slight boost to the pill's effectiveness. However, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what this added "boost" does to your sleeping pattern. If you need pain relief before bed, opt for tablets that are caffeine-free.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.