Don’t spend another night tossing and turning at 3am if there is something you can do about it! Believe it or not, what you eat three hours or less from bedtime can have a big impact on if you can get to sleep and how well you sleep. It’s natural to indulge in a little snack before going to bed, but avoid the following foods to increase your chance of having a quality sleep every night – with less nightmares to boot!
As great as a cheesy pizza tastes with zesty marinara sauce, the cheese can actually give you nightmares, plus the sauce can cause aches in your stomach and make you take 2am trips to the bathroom! Red cured meat like pepperoni contains a large amount of insoluble fiber, taking forever to digest and causing your body to work harder. Plus, a slice of pizza really constitutes a meal versus a petit nighttime snack. So leave pizza for mealtimes!
As you may already know, the usual suspects for health issues, namely alcohol, caffeine, and soda, can also wreak havoc on your sleep life.
- While alcohol can relax your muscles prior to going to sleep initially, alcohol causes sleep disruptions at critical later stages of REM.
- As we all know, coffee is loaded with caffeine, and caffeine is a stimulant that tells your body to stay awake, increasing energy and alertness. Avoid coffee at least six hours before bedtime.
- The same thing goes for soda. Not only does it have caffeine but sugar too. The two combined cause you to have shallower, less restful sleep.
Sweets take all types of forms, be it chocolate, sugary cereal, or desserts, all of which can contain bad carbs.
- The good news is that for you chocolate lovers, not all chocolate contains caffeine. Dark dark chocolate is a no-no for its caffeine content, and it also contains the same amino acid found in cured meats and cheeses that tells your body to stay awake. However, white chocolate actually has no caffeine at all, and does not contain that same amino acid.
- If you crave cereal before bed, reach for a low-sugar, high-fiber type like Cheerios or bran flakes instead of sugary ones. Sugar throws off sleep hormones, and less fiber leads to lighter sleep patterns.
- Bad carbs, especially sugary ones with high saturated fat should be avoided as well. The bad carbs list includes pastries, white bread and pasta, and potato chips. Foods like these have been demonstrated to lessen deep slow-wave sleep and cause a delay in when you fall asleep.
Spicy foods definitely stimulate your taste buds, but they can do a number on your stomach and cause heartburn. Also, the consumption of spicy foods raises your body temperature, when in fact your body temperature must decrease one or two degrees in order for you to be able to fall asleep. Think about it!
We all adore the foods listed, but there is good news as well. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are foods you can eat that actually help you sleep. Try a handful of nuts, cottage cheese, a cup of decaf tea, warm milk, or certain fruits. You should also consider confounding factors that might be causing you sleep disturbance – is a combination of late night eating choices and back pain causing you to lose sleep? Sleep is so essential to our functioning where the roots of sleep disturbance are complex. Make sure you take into account any and all factors that could be causing you to stay up and also cause you to experience low quality sleep.