"If you want to sleep better, the number one food you should give up (or at least cut back on) is candy," says Kim Yawitz, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in St. Louis, Missouri.
Candy doesn't just disturb sleep because it can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar that can leave you hungry and cause restless sleep. "In the short term,
snacking on candy or other sugary foods at night can also lead to hormone changes—like increased insulin, cortisol, and adrenaline—that leave you restless, anxious, and hungry," says Yawitz.
Yawitz also highlights that there's also some evidence that eating lots of candy, in general, could impact sleep quantity and quality.
"In one large study, the odds of sleeping fewer than six hours per night were 32 percent higher in adolescents who ate candy and other sweets five times per week,
and the odds of poor sleep quality were 30 percent higher among frequent sweets eaters," she says. "Another large study that included adults had similar findings —
specifically, that women who ate more sweets (including candy) were more likely to report sleep troubles." Yeah, no thanks. We'll take our beauty sleep.
Beyond candy, cutting out fried foods could also help you sleep better, says Yawitz, as studies have linked high-fat diets with an increased risk of sleep disorders.
"Limiting acidic foods, spicy foods, and carbonated beverages could help you sleep better if you're among the 20 percent of American adults with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)," she adds.