7 Sleep-Stealing Foods to Stay Away From

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, your dinner could be to blame. Our esteemed panel of nutritionists and dieticians list out seven foods that keep you up past your bedtime. For the ones that put you to sleep, click here. Related: Do You Need a Sleep Makeover?

Caffeine
You've known this guy for years. He's gotten you through countless all-nighters and pepped you up for that 8 a.m. Monday morning presentation. But did you know that caffeine isn't actually giving your body any energy? "Though caffeine does provide us with that feeling of alertness, it's just a stimulant," says Michelle Dudash, registered dietician, chef, and freelancer writer. Related: 10 Products to Bring You to a Happy Place

Aged Cheese

If a nap is in your future, steer clear of Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and other hard cheeses (basically, all the yummy smelly ones!). The high levels of the amino acid tyramine are known to keep you up. Related: 33 Healthy Foods to Fight Off Aging

Spicy Foods
Hot tamale! Those hot wings may taste damn good during the football game, but they aren't going to feel so great come bedtime - especially if you're prone to heartburn, since lying down only amps up its side. Make sure you eat your favorite hot foods early enough in the day to prevent a sleepless night later.

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Processed or Smoked Meats
Leave this one on the deli counter. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC, says processed meats contain high levels of tyramine and makes the brain release a chemical that makes us feel alert. These meats also aren't the healthiest ones to munch on either, sleep patterns aside.

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Alcohol
Even though it's a depressant, alcohol will, oddly enough, keep you up at night. "Many people use alcohol to help them relax, but it actually prevents your body from entering the deep stages of sleep," says Pasquella. Although you may fall asleep, you won't feel very well-rested in the morning.

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Milk Chocolate

The average milk chocolate bar contains tyrosine, which is converted into dopamine - a stimulant, says Pasquella. This causes alertness and restlessness, which can keep you up at night. Related: Answers from Our Chill Out Expert

Ginseng Tea
Herbal teas are great for sleeping, but steer clear of ginseng. It's been shown to act as a stimulant, and though some tea drinkers don't feel any effects from the tea, others experience insomnia and hypertension. If you might fall in this category, avoid drinking it several hours before bed, recommends Pasquella.

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