Published on 14 June 2023

Does Eating Before Bed Cause Nightmares: Read Facts

Dream Psychology Does-Eating-Before-Bed-Cause-Nightmares
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Did you wake up with a sweaty body and fear on your face? Maybe it is due to the nightmares you have just experienced. Various sorts of dreams you might have been through, such as falling off a building, chased by a monster or any person, any crime scene, or it can also be someone passing away. 

All these experiences can be the worst to be dreamt of. So why does it happen? We’ll find it below in detail. 

Do you eat food just before sleeping and experiencing all these nightmares? Is it really possible? It is a question for many people. Let us find out will eating before bed can make your dreams a Nightmare.

Know, What Are Nightmares?

Dreams that cause a feeling of fear, terrified, extreme anxiety, or distress are termed Nightmares. It is mainly caused while Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. These instances make your body wake up suddenly, and the worst part is when sometimes your brain starts to recollect the dreams that you have been dreaming. 

Common Reasons Nightmares Occur

Nightmares occur due to various reasons. Nightmares are a disorder that is termed Parasomnia by doctors. The triggering moments of nightmares are due to the following:

Anxiety Or Stress

Anxiety or stress can be one of the common reasons. It can be experienced by many people worldwide due to stressful and busy life. It can also be felt due to the death of any close person. 

Sleep Disorders

Sleep deprivation can be one of the other causes of nightmares. Sleep is an important factor, wherein for every person, atleast 7-8 hours of sleep is compulsory. If you compromise on your sleeping pattern, nightmares can trigger. Mainly the one suffering from a sleep disorder is more likely to be affected by Nightmares. 


Drugs or Medications can be a deciding factor for your nightmares. Some the medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, or blood pressure medicines can affect your nightmares. 


Traumatic situations can be the worst to trigger nightmares. Trauma can be suffered due to various reasons, such as accidents, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or any other instances. Nightmares are prevalent for people suffering from post-traumatic disorder. 


Movies are one of the subjects which makes a person get intrigued by the film and forget everything around. It happens when a horror movie is being seen; later, you start to hallucinate accordingly, affecting the dreams, which later turn into nightmares.

Does Eating Before Bed Causes Nightmares?

Let us come to the answer which you’ll be looking for. Yes, Eating does cause nightmares. According to various studies and beliefs, eating just before bed can affect your dream pattern. 

When you eat food before bed, your temperature and metabolism get boosted. This will make the brain work at its full potential after you sleep. This will make the brain have more dreams. 

Research has been done where people were told to eat before sleep and observed the dream patterns. The findings were shocking, where 9.5% of participants had experienced nightmares. 

Another research was conducted where people were told to eat icecreams and candy bars. They observed that there were more brain waves. 7 out of 10 people have experienced nightmares. It has been revealed that if you are full of food before sleep, nightmares can possibly trigger. 

Foods That Cause Nightmares

You might habitually grab food in the middle of the night and just dose off after the food is completed. At the same time, people with this habit can be in severe trouble with nightmares. Certain foods should be kept away from eating before going to bed; this can prevent you from nightmare situations.

Sugary Food

When a person eats sugary foods such as cakes, chocolates, or sweets, it will lead to nightmares. Frontiers in Psychology published a study; where 396 people were under observation. 31% of people suffer from disturbing dreams. These dreams were affected mainly by people who consumed cakes and cookies before bed. 

Some people eat chocolates before they sleep, but it should be avoided. Chocolates contain caffeine and sugar, disrupting sleep and affecting you from worst nightmares. 


If you are not a sweet person but consume alcohol, even this can be a wrong decision you could make. Many people drink alcohol for various reasons and think they can end up with a peaceful sleep. But this is not the truth; where alcohol can wake you up in between yet cause nightmares. The person can suffer from stressful nightmares, disrupting sleep.

Spicy Foods

Many people love spicy food, which makes your mouth watery. But If you eat spicy foods before getting into bed, it can be a problem for you to experience nightmares. This happens due to food processing in the body, which takes more effort to digest. Studies have stated that some sauces can show effects that can affect nightmares because it disturbs brain activity.

Pastas and Bread

Everyone loves to eat pasta and bread, but starch full of food items can make your sweet dreams into nightmares. It has the same effects as sugar. Sleep quality also reduces if you eat full of carbs before sleep. Rice can be a good source of food that can help you have sweet dreams. 

French Fries And Chicken Tenders

Few studies stated that people who eat greasy food just before getting into bed can have nightmares. Eating food that is baked instead of deep oil fried is suggested. It also includes chips that are oil fried. To eat fries differently, chop them, have your favorite garlic and pepper powder and a few drops of olive oil, and bake it. Do not overreact An alert message.

Hot Cocoa

Dairy products should be avoided to get sweet dreams. It can potentially cause you nightmares due to Tryptophan which dairy products contain. If you want something before sleep, you can have warm water and add lemon or detox tea, which doesn’t contain caffeine.


Various soft drinks are available in the market, but drinking before bed could call your nightmares in place of sweet dreams. It contains a high level of sugar and caffeine, which can be a con for you to drink before bed.

Which Foods Can Be The Best For Good Sleep?

If you want to eat before bed at any cost, you can eat fruits. Fruits can be a good source of sweet dreams. Mainly if you are eating, bananas and grapes can be excellent food options before bed. 

Grapes contain Melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone which helps you fall asleep. Banana Contains potassium and magnesium, which is a high mineral-containing fruit. This helps you to calm your body and show sleeping effects. 

Other eatables that can be used:

  • Kiwi
  • Cherries
  • Almonds
  • Warm Milk
  • Herbal teas
  • Turkey
  • Whole grains

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Eating is one of the important factors that play in getting a peaceful sleep. Your wrong choices can make you deal with sleep disorders. Whereas if you are following proper eating habits, it can be a boom for you to get a soothing sleep. 

The main food routine that you should follow is before going to sleep. This can change an entire pattern of getting sweet dreams into nightmares. If you are getting nightmares even after following a nutritional diet, you should once consult a doctor.

Frequently asked questions

Chances of nightmares due to high carbs are possible before it helps to disrupt sleeping patterns.
To overcome nightmares follow the following steps: use a night light, calm yourself by meditating, lower stress levels, and make your sleeping bed comfortable so that you would not get disturbed in the middle of sleep.
There are two common nightmares one could experience, that is, falling from a cliff or being chased by a monster or any person.
Atleast you should have two to three hours of the gap before you go to bed.
It all depends on the person, but on average, one can experience nightmares for atleast 10 to 20 minutes.