Anti-Sleep Foods: The Worst Foods to give your Children before bedtime

Ok, obviously we know candy & cookies will keep our kids up until midnight, but what about other foods that are scientifically proven to keep your child wired way past bedtime?  Read more on how to avoid these certain foods at your dinnertime table.

Before you were even beginning to think about procreating, you already knew that sugar & caffeine (or Red Bull & Vodkas) was a surefire way to keep you going at night, whether it was for a huge midterm or a night out with your friends.  But did you know there are some foods that are proven to negatively affect your body that will disrupt sleep?  And (UGH) cause more night wakings?  Note that while I’m not necessarily suggesting you remove these completely from your diet, but limit them to breakfast/snack/lunch instead.  SO with that said……let’s break it down, starting with the little ones (and a little for the adults-only near the bottom):


Popcorn:  Although it’s been mentioned other places to “help” sleep, the exact opposite is true.  Popcorn can produce gas & inflammation in the intestines,

Chocolate:  Especially dark chocolate, caffeine is often a hidden ingredient in this delicious snack.  Chocolate can also be the culprit of acid reflux, increasing night wakings due to upset tummies. 

Spicy Food/Tomatoes:  My husband is huge hot sauce freak, and my children don’t fall far from the tree.  Spicy foods & sauce cause heartburn, reflux, and other icky symptoms that can make falling asleep quite difficult.

Broccoli:  For those lucky parents whom have children that enjoy this healthy veggie, it’s PACKED with fiber, which can produce gas and irritable tummies.

Preserved Meats:  Processed meats contain high levels of “tyramine”, which causes the brain to release a chemical to increase alertness.  Obviously not ideal to have a bedtime routine that lasts 3 hours, so go ahead and save those ham sandwiches for lunchtime instead.

Pizza:  Often greasy & high in fat, this can cause upset tummies (and trouble falling asleep and STAYING asleep).

Soy: This includes soy sauce on your white rice, or tofu for my vegan friends; although a great alternative source of protein, soy is also high in tyramine, which can give us a little energy boost, and obviously not ideal when you’re desperately trying to get your little one down before The Bachelor starts at 8pm.

Wine *adults only*:  Although most people will probably ignore this bullet point (ha), I figured it was worth a mention for education purposes alone.  Some adults like to enjoy glass of wine after the kids are asleep, which acts as a sedative helping us fall asleep at night.  However, two or more glasses can actually cause you to sleep less restfully and cause more frequent wakings.

Will removing these items from your dinner table guarantee your child sleeps perfectly at night?  Of course not.  BUT you’ll have a lot better chance getting them down at an age-appropriate bedtime and reduce night wakings (you can actually keep the volume “on” tonight!)  Good luck everyone, and as always, contact me here if you or someone you know may need a little bit of help in the child sleep department JHave a great night and thanks for visiting!