Food might not be the number one culprit that springs to mind when trying to figure out why we can’t sleep at night. When you think about it, however, our dietary habits affect so much of our general health and wellbeing that it only makes sense that they would also impact heavily on one of our most basic biological functions. The necessity to have substantial sleep and rest periods cannot be ignored; if our sleep is disrupted and of poor quality, we feel terrible in our day to day lives and our long term health is put at risk. If you want to know how you can increase your chances of a better night’s sleep by changing your relationship with food, then read on!
1. Spicy Food
If you regularly have trouble sleeping, try to cut out spicy foods, at least before bedtime. A spice-laden meal can result in heartburn, which is made worse when you lie down and can cause you to have a restless night of tossing and turning. If you want to indulge yourself in these kinds of foods, have them early on in the day to allow yourself sufficient time to recover before you go asleep.
High fat foods are bad news in general, raising your cholesterol levels and increasing your chances of obesity and heart disease. When it comes to sleeping, fatty meats such as steak are also best avoided as they take too long to digest and may disrupt your circadian rhythm if eaten too close to bed-time.
A balanced meal can do wonders for your ability to sleep at night. Having a combination of fats, carbs and proteins at dinner-time will help to stabilise your blood sugar, preventing you from having any major peaks and crashes in your energy levels and keeping your sleeping pattern steady as a result.
Although it can be tempting to have a couple of glasses of wine before bed-time to make yourself drowsy, the reality is you don’t get the same quality of sleep when you have alcohol in your system. Drinking also acts as a muscle relaxant which can make snoring worse and trigger sleep apnea. Get out of the habit of having a nightcap if that’s something you frequently do and you’ll feel far more rested and refreshed the following day.
Replace all that alcohol with a far healthier, and essential, liquid – water. If you suffer from snoring, studies have shown that dehydration could be a contributing factor in some cases and therefore drinking lots of water could be a simple snoring cure you never thought of. Keep a glass of water beside your bed as a reminder to drink it and to make it easy for you to rehydrate yourself first thing in the morning.
So there you have it, 5 ways food can cause bad sleep patterns to emerge and why you should look at cutting out certain foods if you want to improve your sleeping habits. Most people need at least eight hours to feel properly rejuvenated so try to make the necessary dietary changes, get to bed early and enjoy one of the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time.