There are several reasons that result in a poor night of sleep. Your partner snored all night, stress from work kept you up, too much light entered the window, or you looked at screens for hours leading up to bedtime. What did you eat in the evening before bed, though? Although you may not think that food is the culprit, certain foods that you eat at night can affect your sleep in a major way.
Eating right before you go to bed is never a good idea, as eating too close to bedtime can take a toll on the digestive system. Since getting a good night’s rest is integral to your overall health, you may want to consider avoiding certain foods before you hit the hay. It can be a challenge to take a break from your favorite evening snacks, but try it out to see if your sleep improves. Avoid the following foods before bed if you want to improve the quality of your sleep.
Your affinity for a late night ice cream pint may have to come to an end if you want to enjoy restful sleep. Additionally, a late night stop at a greasy taco truck or salty burger shack isn’t doing your sleep any favors. Fatty foods take longer to digest because the body has a harder time processing them. Because the digestive system is working hard, it keeps the body awake, or the digestive process disturbs your sleep. A 2016 study found that a diet rich in saturated fat led to less restorative sleep, so just keep that in mind moving forward.
Another late night food item ruining your Zzz’s is alcohol. Alcohol actually makes you feel sleepy, which is why a lot of people like to unwind and relax with a cold one or glass of wine. Even though it may help you fall asleep, studies show that the quality of sleep after drinking alcohol is not great. The reason for this is because alcohol acts as a diuretic, leading to more midnight trips to the bathroom. Alcohol also makes it more difficult to reach REM sleep, which is the final stage of sleep that regulates mood and improves memory retention. Plus, the more you drink at night, the less rested you feel in the morning because of hangovers and reduced activity levels.
Although they seem innocent, chips are greasy, high-fat, high-sodium, processed snacks that can ruin your sleep. Studies show that greasy foods like chips can actually increase the likelihood of nightmares. Not only will you feel awake because your digestive system is in overdrive, but you may wake up in a panic because of nightmares. If you must snack on chips, do so in the afternoon so that your body has enough time to digest them.
Dried fruit is an excellent healthy snack to power you through the day, but it isn’t a wise snack choice before bedtime. The high fiber content in dried fruit can rev up the digestive system in an uncomfortable way. While trying to go to sleep, you may experience painful gas and bloating. Plus, the high sugar content of dried fruit can lead to an unwanted sugar rush that can keep you up longer than you want.
A Late Night Cup Of Coffee
This seems self-explanatory, but having a cup of coffee too close to bedtime can wreck your sleep. Oftentimes, a restful night of sleep is preceded by a specific routine, which varies from person to person. A cup of coffee is never in that pre-sleep routine, and if it is then it shouldn’t be. Caffeine also hides in chocolates, soft drinks, energy drinks, tea, and other food sources besides coffee. So if you consume these items before bed, you are probably too alert to fall asleep.
Sleep experts say that a spicy curry is one of the worst meals you can eat in the evening because it can ruin sleep. Eating spicy foods can increase the risk of heartburn and acid reflux, both of which interfere with sleep. The discomfort you feel when you lie down can be so intense that going to sleep is impossible. Capsaicin, the compound that exists in spicy foods like hot peppers, may be the culprit behind your sleep troubles. As you relax before bed, the body’s core temperature starts to drop. Capsaicin can interfere with this process by raising your core temperature, leaving you feeling wide awake.