Avoid these foods before bedtime and sleep better
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
A good, deep and restorative night’s sleep, it is something that we all want, right? In the evening you go to bed, put your head on the pillow, close your eyes, sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed the next morning. Sounds easy, but the truth is often quite the opposite.
I wrote earlier, why we all should sleep more, and shared 8 tips for better sleep with you, and now I’m going to go even more deeper. With these food related tips you’re going to fall asleep before you even notice and sleep through the night like a baby!
COFFEE, GREEN TEA, ENERGY DRINKS AND COLAS. I hope this one is the one we all know, but in case you need a little reminder: All of the above contain caffeine, that can stimulate the central nervous system several hours after consuming them. Of course, we all differ in sensitivity to caffeine and that’s usually based on our daily habits. If you have any problems to fall asleep, it’s recommended to limit the intake of caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime
FAST FOOD. Say good bye to pizzas, burgers, burritos and tubes of Ben and Jerry’s at the evenings! Of course I can’t recommend these kind of foods at any time of the day, as they contain nothing but unhealthy fat, salt, sugar and bad carbs. High-fat foods take longer to digest, which means that your body needs to work instead of relax. Fatty foods also often cause heartburn, bloating and indigestion, that will for sure interfere with the quality of your sleep.
ALCOHOL. Nightcap may sound tempting and relaxing if you feel stressed out but it might be doing the opposite. Even though a glass of wine or a pint can help you fall asleep faster, it actually will cause you to wake up multiple times during the night, reduce nightly sleep time and diminish quality of sleep. And even if you don’t care about your own sleep quality, give some thought to your bed partner as alcohol makes snoring worse!
DARK CHOCOLATE. It supposed to be the best option of all chocolates with all its powerful antioxidants and good-for-you nutrients, but when we talk about it in the same sentence with the sleep, it turns against you. One 45-gram chocolate bar contains around 20 milligrams of caffeine, which is about the same as 1 tbsp of espresso has! The caffeine and some other stimulant in chocolate can increase your heart rate, prevent your body from falling asleep and cause sleeplessness.
A HIGH-PROTEIN DINNER. While you’re sleeping, your digestion is supposed to slow down, but if you have dinner high in protein, your body is focusing on digesting the beef instead of sleeping. Combining protein with some good quality carbs can turn the balance back towards sleeping mode.
SPICY FOODS. Spicy foods are excellent choices when you’re trying to boost your metabolism, but forget extra Tabasco and hot chili peppers on your dinner as they can keep you awake at night. Spicy foods can increase the body’s core temperature, and as it’s the opposite action that should happen when going to sleep, it can cause you to feel more awake and struggle with staying asleep tranquilly the whole night. They can also cause heartburn.
WATER. Yes, I always say that drink more water as it affects so much to your overall wellbeing, but drinking it right before bedtime, isn’t that smart thing to do. Try to drink water during the day to stay hydrated and energetic and restrict your fluid intake about three hours before bedtime to avoid those nightly bathroom visits.
HUGE PORTIONS = TOO MUCH FOOD. While you definitely shouldn’t crawl into bed starving, you shouldn’t either feel like stuffed turkey when the bedtime comes. A heavy meal right before bed can cause discomfort and indigestion, and like I told you before, your body will stay working and digesting instead of resting. This in turn can affect to your sleep and wake you up several times during the night, and it may also develop heartburn.