These seven drinks can ruin your sleep – here’s why you should avoid them

From green tea to chocolate milk, avoid these drinks if you want a good night’s sleep

Drinks that ruin sleep
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If you struggle to fall asleep at night, it might be what you’re consuming before you hit the sheets that’s affecting your sleep.

What you eat and drink before bed can have a surprising impact on your sleep. Where some foods like cherries and fatty fish can help regulate your circadian rhythm and naturally relax your mind and body, other foods and drinks like coffee and tomatoes can keep you awake with caffeine spikes and acid reflux.

I’ve already covered the 8 foods to eat for a good night’s sleep and 4 to avoid, but now it’s time to look at drinks. Having a warm drink and other beverages before bed can have a calming effect, but others can ruin your sleep. With this in mind, here are seven drinks you should avoid before bed so as not to disrupt your sleep.

P.S. To achieve a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep, make sure to upgrade to the best mattress.

1. Coffee

Man holding a cup of coffee with latte art

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Having a cup of coffee too close to your bedtime can seriously disturb your sleep cycle and body clock. Coffee has a high level of caffeine which can help you stay focused and alert throughout the day, but because of this, it’s something that should be avoided too late at night. The caffeine can give you a spike of energy which can stay in your system for up to six hours after consuming it, making it hard for you to relax and fall asleep.

Not only does too much caffeine ruin your sleep, but too much coffee can also make you feel jittery and cause side effects like headaches, anxiousness, dizziness, and a faster heartbeat. To avoid disrupting your sleep, try to have your last cup of coffee between 2 - 3pm (see what time should you stop drinking coffee for more details).

2. Black tea

Teas for sleep

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While having a warm cup of tea before bed is a common part in most people’s nighttime routine, black tea is best to be avoided. Black tea has a high level of caffeine, and while it’s less energising than caffeine, it can still disturb your sleep and leave you feeling restless and anxious. If you’re a tea drinker, check out the best teas to help you sleep better and calm anxiety.

3. Alcohol

Foods to never cook in a slow cooker: alcohol

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While alcohol can cause you to fall asleep quickly, it can be extremely damaging to your sleep cycle and health. The main reason for this is that alcohol skips some of the most important stages of sleep. For good quality sleep, you should be going through all stages of a sleep cycle multiple times, including light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep in order to rest and repair properly. But alcohol tends to skip the light and REM stages of sleep and takes your right to deep sleep, meaning you’ll feel less rested in the morning. Alcohol can also cause you to wake up more frequently in the night.

4. Fizzy drinks

Drinks that ruin sleep: fizzy drinks

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Fizzy drinks like Coca Cola, Pepsi Max, Sprite, and so on, aren’t great for sleep, either. Fizzy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar, which can lead to a spike in energy that causes you to stay awake for longer and decrease the amount of hours of sleep you get at night. Too many fizzy drinks can also affect your health in other ways, including heartburn, weight gain, tooth decay and diabetes.

5. Chocolate milk

Drinks that ruin sleep: chocolate milk

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A glass of warm milk is often recommended to people who can’t sleep at night, but chocolate milk can have the opposite effect. Depending on the chocolate powder you choose, you might find that chocolate milk sends you to sleep quickly. But some chocolate mixes are high in sugar and dark chocolate solids have more caffeine, both of which can keep you awake at night. Instead, try drinking a smaller glass of chocolate milk a few hours before bed, and stick to a chocolate powder that’s low in sugar and caffeine.

6. Energy drinks

Drinks that ruin sleep: energy drinks

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Clues in the name with this one: energy drinks give you energy which is something you should avoid if you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. According to research reported in The Guardian, energy drinks are associated with insomnia and poor quality sleep, and having just one energy drink a month can increase the risk of disturbed sleep. The study found that people consuming energy drinks on a daily basis had more issues with falling asleep and waking up through the night, and found that the more energy drinks someone drank, the less sleep they had overall.

7. Spicy drinks

Drinks that ruin sleep: spicy drinks

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Spice is more commonly found in foods, but there are some spicy drinks out there, like spicy cocktails or mocktails that can affect your sleep. Certain spices contain high levels of capsaicin or chili pepper extract which can interfere with the body’s temperature regulation. If you feel too hot or cold at night, this can disrupt your sleep, plus too much spice before bed can cause acid reflux and indigestion.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!