9 Foods That Are Sabotaging Your Sleep!
Everyone has had those sleepless nights where they toss and turn while laying in bed, desperately wishing to close their eyes and wake up hours later. Some of us experience it so often that it feels like it is normal.
Did you know the food you eat can affect your sleep quality? A good night’s sleep could just be a meal away. Here are the nine foods that could be sabotaging your sleep.
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates your nervous system, keeping you awake for up to 12 hours! Try to avoid coffee, non-herbal tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, and other stimulating foods at least 4 to 6 hours before bed.
Drinking 64 oz of water throughout the day is healthy, but too much water right before bed will interrupt your sleep with a late-night bathroom break. This interrupted sleep results in lower sleep quality even if you get the minimum hours overall.
About an hour before bed, limit fluid intake to enough to not feel thirsty. Also avoid any drinks with caffeine, as well as diuretics like green tea and alcohol.
Alcohol will initially make you feel tired, and this makes it tempting to use as a sleep aid. However, alcohol interferes with your natural REM sleep, which is needed for dreams and restorative sleep. It is also a diuretic, interrupting your sleep for late night bathroom breaks.
Worse yet, alcohol can increase risks for sleep apnea.
If you have ever had symptoms of heartburn, you know how painful it can be. Acidic foods can wreak havoc with your digestive system, triggering acid reflux that interrupts your hard earned rest.
Avoid high acid foods like citrus, pizza, chili, spicy foods, and soda 2-4 hours before bed.
Foods high in fat like burgers, fried chicken, and chips are hard for your body to digest. During sleep, your metabolism slows down significantly and complicates digestion of these fats. Just like acidic foods, this can cause sleep-interrupting heartburn and indigestion. On top of that, saturated fats inhibit restorative sleep phases .
Too Much Cheese
Milk and cheese are often turned into good late night snacks, but some types of cheese can be surprisingly acidic. This can promote indigestion and heartburn. A proper serving size of most hard cheeses is a few cubes or a thin slice.
Milk is a better alternative. Milk has a hormone called tryptophan, which helps tell the body that it’s time to sleep.
Most proteins are a good night time snack. However, not all protein sources are created equal. While it might seem safe to snag a quick sausage or pepperoni, such meats are often high in sodium and other chemicals. These ingredients contribute to sleep-interrupting bloating and indigestion.
Worse, the nitrates in these heavily processed foods can contribute to wakefulness, mania-like symptoms, and other health issues.
Try not to eat these spiced and processed meats for 2-4 hours before bed. If you want a snack, try other proteins like nuts or a glass of milk.
Fruits that are naturally citrus heavy are acidic, which can cause heartburn, trigger GERD, and lead to indigestion. Citrusy scents and tastes can also spur wakefulness.
If you have a fruit craving, try fruits high in magnesium, like bananas. Magnesium stimulates melatonin production to help regulate sleep.
Vegetables are very healthy, but the essential fibers and nutrients can be harder to break down while you sleep. As a result, fibrous plants like beans, onions, and celery may cause bloating and gas! Try to eat a few hours before bed to give your body time to break foods down.
The Final Verdict
Eating before bed is largely an unhealthy habit as a whole, as many of the foods we enjoy during the day may come back to haunt us in the night. For a better night’s sleep, eat earlier in the evening to give your body time to do the heavy work. Rest well!