Why You Should Avoid Eating Salty Food Before Bed

If you're always feeling tired, you're a member of an ever-growing, groggy club. According to Single Care, up to 70% of older adults have reported chronic sleep problems. There are potential health costs for not getting enough sleep, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and, according to the New York Times, a higher risk of dementia.

And if you typically eat salty food before bed, this could be a factor that is having a negative impact on your sleep.

According to Cleveland Clinic, most people are consuming over twice the daily intake of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association. Too much sodium in your system can increase your blood pressure — which ultimately impacts the quality of your sleep. "Eating a meal that's high in sodium at dinnertime can contribute to sleep disturbances, in part due to an increase in blood pressure and fluid retention," says Sandra Darling, DO, MPH. "The result may be restless sleep, frequent awakenings and not feeling rested in the morning. ... With too much salt in your bloodstream you may not sleep well that night — and feel tired or groggy the next day."

Other ways eating salty foods at night affects your body

According to Best Life, eating salt before bed doesn't only affect your blood pressure, it will also potentially cause you to retain water — which means more trips to the bathroom. "Nighttime urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simple dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people," Tomohiro Matsuo, Ph.D, said in the statement based on the results of a 2017 study.

If you do plan to have a salty dinner — especially a salty, fried dinner — try to at least finish your meal a good three hours before bedtime. "Foods that are high in fat, like fried and processed foods, travel through the digestive system slower than fresh foods, vegetables, and protein," says Manchester, England-based general practitioner Chun Tang, MRCGP, DFFP. "Your digestive system is still working away to break down these fatty foods, resulting in a disturbed, restless sleep," he adds.

And, if you find you are eating close to bedtime, consider options that are not only healthier than salty food, but may even promote sleep, such as moderate amounts of almonds, turkey, bananas, or white rice (via Healthline).

So it's time for you to stop eating salty food before bed. While this may be a hard habit to break, it just might serve up the good night's sleep you've been dreaming of.