We all know that drinking coffee late in the evening can screw with your ability to fall asleep (as can these 10 less expected factors). But caffeine isn't the only ingredient that can derail your snooze schedule. According to a recent nutrition story from Food & Wine, there are a number of seemingly healthy foods that those of us who have trouble dozing off should avoid late in the day, the most surprising of which is a fruit rich in fiber and many other nutritionist-approved nutrients: apples. Read on to learn how this otherwise healthy fruit might be messing with your bedtime routine.
As it turns out, the beneficial nutrients in apples might be the very thing keeping you from falling asleep. As the article says, "Apples are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, natural sugar, and phytonutrients that help you feel more alert." Those natural sugars are time-released in our bodies on a nice, slow schedule so we don't get the crazy blood sugar spike and painful crash that comes later.
Instead, have your apples in the morning, and have some avocado toast at night—avocados are filled with rich unsaturated fats and magnesium, which effectively prepare the body for sleep. Pair that with a sleep supplement, like Zhou Nutrition Drift Off ($21), and you'll be conked out in no time.
If you must eat an apple at night, consider pairing it with a food that counterbalances the awakening effects of the fruit.
Almonds contain melatonin, a hormone proven to regulate sleep. A handful will effectively act as a natural sleep supplement, so grab a handful alongside your after-dinner apple slices.
A nice cup of caffeine-free herbal tea can be as good as popping a melatonin. One study found that apigenin, a flavonoid compound, found in chamomile tea can improve quality of sleep. Brew yourself a hot mug if you're concerned that apple pie you scarfed down might keep you up half the night.
Peanut butter and apple is the ultimate comfort food. If this is one of your favorite snacks, you're in luck—healthy fats like those found in peanut butter can help kick your body into sleep mode, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But take a close look at the ingredients' list; you don't want your sleep sabotaged by loads of added sugar.
Cornell University. Are apples better than coffee? Updated July 2, 2015.
Salehi B, Sharopov F, Fokou PVT, et al. Melatonin in medicinal and food plants: occurrence, bioavailability, and health potential for humans. Cells. 2019;8(7):681. doi:10.3390/cells8070681
Salehi B, Venditti A, Sharifi-Rad M, et al. The therapeutic potential of apigenin. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(6):1305. doi:10.3390/ijms20061305
Cleveland Clinic. 5 foods that help you sleep. Updated January 13, 2020.