As far as what to pile on your plate during this daily window, Peter Polos, M.D., Ph.D., FCCP, FAASM, sleep medicine specialist and sleep expert for Sleep Number, recommends steering clear of anything high in fat or refined carbs. "There is data to suggest diets high in carbohydrates contribute to drowsiness and can lead to fragmented sleep as the carbohydrates are metabolized. Avoidance of high-fat foods is also advised as they too can affect sleep quality," he tells mbg.
Instead, a review paper published earlier this year found that Mediterranean-inspired diets higher in protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables, and anti-inflammatory nutrients tend to be associated with better sleep quality.
Aim to enjoy most of your plant-heavy meals earlier in the day, as delayed eating might disrupt the circadian rhythm. Experts agree that you should stop eating at the same time every night—preferably around three hours before bed—to give your body plenty of time to digest before sleep.