7 Foods That May be the Reason You’re Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Waking up often during the night is frustrating, but it also can be difficult to pinpoint the source of your poor-quality sleep. However, you may want to start looking at your diet, as what you eat before bed can play a role in how well you're sleeping. There are a number of foods that can wake you up in the middle of the night, and eliminating them from your diet — or just trying to eat them earlier in the day — may be able to help improve your quality of sleep.

"The quality of your diet plays a huge role in supporting optimal sleep," Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD tells Bustle. "Whole, nutrient-rich, easy-to-digest foods are generally best for falling asleep more easily, settling into deep, restorative sleep, and preventing overnight wakefulness."

Most of the time, the foods that cause disruptions at night tend to be the ones that are more difficult to digest or that are common culprits of heartburn and acid reflux. Cutting down on these foods that make your body work hard close to bedtime may be able to help resolve your sleep issues. Here are seven foods that could the reason you keep waking up in the middle of the night, according to experts.

1Fried Foods

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Although we all love a good donut here and there, too much fried food or food high in fat before bed can have you waking up during the night. "High fat foods, like fried chicken and french fries, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and also delay the emptying of the stomach," Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN tells Bustle. "This can lead to reflux, which is most uncomfortable when you are laying in bed trying to sleep."

2Carbonated Beverages

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Anything from soda to beer can cause digestive distress and lead to night time awakenings. "Carbonated beverages cause bloating, which increases pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which can lead to acid reflux," says Amidor. "This isn't very pleasant when sleeping and can wake you up in the middle of the night."

3Juice

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Juices such as grapefruit, orange, and pineapple have a high acid content, which can cause reflux or indigestion, making it tough to sleep comfortably. "If you find yourself sensitive to juice before bed, consume at least 30 minutes before you sleep and prop yourself up a little on a pillow before bed," says Amidor.

4Chocolate

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Anything with caffeine can not only prevent you from falling asleep but from staying asleep as well. "Most people realize that drinking caffeinated coffee or tea close to bedtime may cause insomnia, Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE tells Bustle. "However, many people forget that the chocolate in their dessert may be enough of a stimulant to prevent quality sleep."

5Alcohol

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Most people believe that a glass of wine before bed can help you get some quality sleep, but the opposite is actually true. "It actually can help you fall asleep more quickly, but then it can prevent deep and continuous sleep throughout the night," says Braslow.

6Red Meat

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Anything that requires the body to work hard in digestion can cause disruptions in sleep. "In addition to being high in saturated fat, which in research has been shown to disrupt sleep, red meat is difficult to digest," says Sass. "This diverts more blood flow to your digestive system, which can lead to sluggishness and all-night restlessness."

7Sugar

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It's hard to resist topping off your dinner with a sweet treat, but your sleep may suffer as a result. "[Sugary foods] can wreak havoc with blood sugar levels and wind up disrupting sleep," says Sass. "Excess sugar is known to cause waking up in the middle of the night, or it can pull you out of a deep sleep, which leads to waking up feeling unrested."

While there may be many factors contributing to your restless nights, take note of what you're eating just before bed. If it's any of these foods, try cutting back and see if your sleep improves as a result.