Can’t fall asleep at night because you feel a cold coming on? If you’re lying in the dark, feeling like you can’t breathe in, you’re not necessarily getting sick. You just may have a little known condition called silent reflux and guess what? Those cookies and milk your mother got you hooked on at bedtime aren’t helping.
No more losing sleep over losing sleep. Now, thanks to laryngologist Jamie Koufman, author of the new book The Chronic Cough Enigma – Acid Reflux, Asthma, and Recalcitrant Cough – The Path to a Cure, you can rid yourself of that pesky cough and those bags under your eyes – just by changing your diet.
What? All you have to do to catch some zzz’s is avoid a few late night snacks? Yep. Read on.
Foods You Should Never Eat at Night List
What are the silent reflux signs?
Silent acid reflux can show up in a number of ways. If any of the following symptoms don’t respond to traditional treatments, you may have your answer:
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Pesky cough
According to Dr. Koufman, the source of misery begins with what you eat and drink within four hours of hitting the sack – or the couch.
Four hours is how long it takes for the stomach to empty, and if you have reflux or just want to avoid it, you should go to bed with an empty stomach, or at the very least, avoid foods that aggravate reflux. So which snacks are the culprits?
Which foods should I avoid at night?
When it comes to nighttime eating, you need to choose your snacks carefully. Here’s a list of the foods you should avoid if you’ve got signs of silent reflux:
1. BOOZE (A WHISKY NIGHTCAP IS THE KISS OF DEATH)
Alcohol relaxes the esophageal valves, If you go sleep with a buzz, you will reflux all night long.
2. CARBONATED COLA BEVERAGES (FRUIT & FIZZ = ACID)
All soft drinks and fruit juices are acidified to the same level as stomach acid — so avoid them at all costs.
3. CHOCOLATE CANDY (YUM? NOT AT NIGHT)
Chocolate reflexes the esophagus and is terrible reflux trigger, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep.
4. ICE CREAM (ESPECIALLY THE CHOCOLATE KIND)
The relatively high fat in chocolate ice cream is an invitation to reflux. Clean out the freezer!
5. “ENERGY” DRINKS (RED BULL, MONSTER, ETC.)
Big-dose caffeine relaxes the stomach valves and is acidic too. Your body doesn’t need extra energy to sleep.
Alas, this is an awful combo for a nighttime snack. Reflux and they and will fatten you up, too.
7. SANDWICHES (THE WORST ARE PASTRAMI & CHEESEBURGERS)
Sandwiches and burgers relax the esophageal valves and slow stomach emptying. Never eat them after 9 pm.
8. NUTS (ESPECIALLY CASHEWS, MACADAMIAS, PEANUTS, AND WALNUTS)
These healthy choices are among the most common reflux trigger foods, sorry.
9. CITRUS & APPLES (BOTH THE FRUIT AND THE BEVERAGES)
Citrus is way too acidic. Even one small green apple before bed will set off big-time reflux.
10. PIZZA & CHEESE (ESPECIALLY HIGH FAT CHEESES LIKE BRIE)
Eating pizza or cheese late at night as a snack is a really bad idea unless you want to reflux all night.
11. COFFEE/ESPRESSO (A NO-NO AT NIGHT)
Not only does caffeine relax the esophageal valves, the chemicals in coffee trigger reflux, too. Wait until morning.