A glass of warm milk, a cup of chamomile tea, a few slices of tryptophan-laced turkey breast -- a number of foods are at least rumored to help us drift off to sleep. But, besides the obvious (hello, 4 p.m. Starbucks run), could there be foods that are actually keeping us up at night?
For the most part, the research surrounding sleep and diet focuses on how your sleep patterns affect what -- and how much -- you eat, says Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., M.P.H, a sleep researcher and neurology instructor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. We know that too little sleep clouds our food judgement and that the most sleep-deprived among us are likely to serve ourselves larger portions. We also know that both too little and too much sleep can lead to weight gain, for the reasons above and more.
Still, says Baron, "we've known for a long time that there are foods that promote or inhibit sleep."
Of course, no one food or drink is likely to cure a true sleep disorder, like insomnia. But there are some foods that, when consumed too close to bedtime, could be stealing your slumber. Here are some of the worst offenders.