Is your child having trouble sleeping? It may be due to what they eat before they sleep. Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician from Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre) shares five types of food to avoid giving children before their bedtime.

Toddler boy showing tongue

1. Caffeinated drinks

drinking coffee

Iced tea, bubble tea, coffee and some types of energy drinks contain caffeine. Children should not drink these drinks at all, and especially not at bedtime as they contain caffeine, a stimulant. Your child could have a lot of trouble getting to sleep after drinking caffeinated drinks.

2. High sugar drinks

Soda, sweetened juice and drinks that contain a lot of sugar should be avoided before sleeping. It may lead to tooth decay if they forget to brush their teeth before sleeping. In addition, high sugar drinks may lead to a ‘sugar high’ and may be associated with hyperactive behaviour.

3. Fried foods

If junior’s favourite food is fried chicken or fries, it is okay to give him that occasionally, but not at bedtime. Oily food takes longer to digest and may cause stomach discomfort.

4. Chocolate, candy and sweets


Chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, mixed with a high amount of sugar. Both of which are not at all helpful to help your child go to bed.

5. Dried or preserved fruit

Fruit is generally healthy, but at bedtime, eating excessive fruit may cause your child to need to move his bowels, and lead to a delayed bedtime. It is better to give him fresh fruit earlier in the day, or at least a few hours before bedtime. Dried or preserved fruit also contain sugar and preservatives.

By Suzanne Khor, Thomson Paediatric Centre.

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.

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