Millions of people in the U.S. have trouble falling asleep or don’t get a good night’s sleep when they do manage to fall asleep. Many factors can affect insomnia, such as pain or discomfort due to a health condition or exercising right before bedtime.  According to a recent Huffington Post article, there are certain foods that can keep a good night’s sleep out of reach.

Broccoli Or Cauliflower.  They’re a great healthy choice any other time–except before bedtime. They both contain fiber, which the body cannot digest and can keep your body working during the night when you want to get some sleep.

Decaffeinated Coffee. Just because it’s non-caffeinated doesn’t mean you can down a cup right before bedtime and still be able to sleep. Believe it or not, decaf coffee contains enough caffeine to keep you awake, especially if you have a sensitivity to caffeine.

Alcohol. Studies have shown that alcohol does help you fall asleep, but it can disrupt your sleep by reducing amount of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and SWS (Slow-Wave Sleep) you get. REM sleep and SWS is essential for your body to repair itself as well as for restoration of the mind and body.

Dark Chocolate. It’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, but if you indulge right before bedtime it could be awhile before you fall asleep. All chocolates contain caffeine, but dark chocolate has higher amounts. Certain dark chocolates contain as much as 25 to 38 percent of caffeine.

Steak. It’s high in protein, but it digests slowly and can disrupt your Circadian rhythm if you eat it right before you go to bed.

French Fries. In addition to being high in fat, a hearty serving of french fries can put your digestive system into high gear, and give you heartburn, both of which can affect your sleep.

Chili. This one should be a no-brainer. The combination of beef, spices and beans is a recipe for heartburn.

Spicy Food. Eating spicy food before bedtime can give you heartburn. Studies have also shown that spicy foods raise core body temperature, which has been linked to poor sleep quality.

By Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT