If you have trouble sleeping at night, a little food in your stomach might help you relax. However, though hunger tends to make you restless, so does eating too much. Keep your pre-slumber intake moderate, and be sure to stick to foods that enhance rather than inhibit your rest. Here are some of the types of foods you should avoid before bed.
Fats and Carbs
Foods with excessive fats and carbohydrates should be avoided just before bed, especially those that are fried or spicy. Fried foods, carbs and fats take a long time to digest, and spicy foods cause stomach acid which leads to heartburn and a bloated feeling. Therefore, before bed it is best to bypass pasta and pizza with their oils, tomato sauce and cheeses, and takeout foods such as curry and rice with a lot of carbohydrates and spices.
Many people think that a bowl of ice cream is the perfect nighttime snack, but in fact ice cream attacks you on several fronts. The fat goes unburned, and the sugar gives you a charge of energy. In addition, research has shown that ice cream, candy bars, sugary cereals, fruit juices and other sugar-rich foods eaten before bed make people more prone to have nightmares. Instead of ice cream, try yogurt with some healthful muesli, and instead of sugar-filled cereal try a little oatmeal. Milk, yogurt, bananas, and eggs all contain a sleep-inducing substance called tryptophan.
Foods and drinks with caffeine should definitely be avoided before bed. These include coffee, of course, but also caffeinated light or dark tea, and hot chocolate. Solid dark chocolate also contains caffeine. White chocolate is relatively caffeine-free, but of course most white chocolate still contains excessive sugar. Many carbonated cold drinks contain caffeine, and they also tend to make you feel bloated. Some over-the-counter medications people sometimes take before bed such as pain relievers and cold remedies also contain caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, read labels carefully before taking nighttime drugs.
A few drinks before bed might initially relax you, but in fact alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle and robs you of deep restorative slumber. You might sleep fitfully, wake up frequently, and experience headaches, sweating and even nightmares. In addition, you can develop a dependence on alcohol helping you nod off, which is hard to get rid of.
Diuretics are foods that cause your body to release fluids. You should avoid these before bed so you do not wake up in the night needing to use the bathroom. Celery, for example, is a natural diuretic. Other diuretics you might want to avoid before bed include asparagus, tomatoes, artichokes, cranberries and any type of melon.
Watching what you eat before bedtime can certainly play a part in helping you sleep more peacefully. However, what you eat is not the only factor in securing a good night’s sleep. If you have trouble with insomnia or other sleep disorders, a sleep study might help you find the cause of the problem. A sleep study does not need to be intrusive. Apnix facilitates home sleep studies with state-of-the-art equipment and offers a full evaluation afterward. Learning what specifically is causing the difficulty is the first step towards finding a solution.
This article was contributed on behalf of Apnix Sleep Diagnostics, your number one choice when looking for help with your sleep-related issues.