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9 Foods Insomniacs Should Avoid Before Bedtime

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We all need sleep for our physical and mental well-being. Sleep deprivation may lead to health problems like heart issues, fatigue, cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Good sleep makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You know this very well and are taking all the steps to get proper sleep, but you are failing miserably. Where are you going wrong? Who is the culprit?

Well, according to sleep experts, it could be the food you eat at dinner. 

Meat 

Fatty foods, such as deep-fried chicken wings and fatty portions of meat, lead to poor sleep. Unsaturated fats also negatively impact sleep patterns. 

Fatty foods slow down the digestive process and make you feel overwhelmed. You feel uncomfortable and can’t sleep at night. 

According to a 2019 report, people who consume over 128 grams of meat sleep 2 hours less than those who eat 87 grams of meat or less. 

Spicy food 

Spicy chicken wings or curries may cause acid reflux and heartburn, which can keep your brain awake. This may especially happen if you don’t have a habit of eating spicy foods.    

When you try to sleep, acid reflux may reach your esophagus and cause irritation. This can cause many sleep disruptions and keep you alert at night. Foods that contain loads of chilli peppers may raise your body temperature. It is a temporary change. There is nothing to worry about. But it will affect your sleep. 

Burgers and pizzas 

What are the two common ingredients in burgers and pizzas?  Cheese and tomatoes. 

Tomatoes may lead to acid reflux. This may affect your stomach and ruin your sleep at night.

Pizza contains processed meat, saturated fat, and high sodium. If you really want to eat pizza, try to have it at least three hours before sleeping.

Cheese contains tyramine and amino acids, which can increase heart rate. Moreover, tyramine releases norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter), which may postpone the onset of sleep. 

Caffeine 

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, and carbonated drinks. Studies show that it influences the central nervous system, keeps you energised, and helps you stay alert. According to a study, consuming 400mg of caffeine three hours before bedtime can significantly disrupt sleep. Again, consuming the same amount of caffeine 6 hours before sleep can reduce the total sleep time by 1 hour. 

Lack of sleep leads to tiredness and fatigue. This might entice people to drink more coffee the next day, which can disturb their sleep the following morning as well. 

Ice cream 

Ice cream has a high sugar content, which can alter your blood sugar level and affect your digestive system. It’s enough to keep you awake the whole night. Try to avoid chocolate ice cream at night, as it contains caffeine. 

Milk 

Do you love to drink frothy milk at night? Stop before bedtime. Milk contains lactose, which can cause acid reflux. If you love to have warm milk at night, it’s best to have oat or soy milk, which is plant-based. It’s light and can be easily digested.

Processed food

Processed food, junk food, and fast food lead to poor sleep quality, and that too for a short period of time. 

Sausages, instant noodles, sweets, and ready-to-eat meals are a few examples of processed foods. 

Processed foods are those that contain trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugar. Too much consumption of processed foods leads to obesity, which may trigger obstructive sleep apnea. This is a health disease that causes breathing problems at night, so people suffering from this problem can’t sleep at night. 

Alcohol

Some people love to drink at night to chill with friends or to forget about all the worries of the world temporarily. Some people even believe that alcohol helps promote sleep. But this is entirely true. 

While alcohol does help people fall asleep quickly, it hinders sleep during the night when the blood alcohol level drops. 

A high level of alcohol consumption causes poor sleep and has a short duration.

High-glycemic foods

Typical examples of high-glycemic foods are sweets and white breads. These foods have added sugar, which may lead to a sudden increase or drop in blood sugar levels. This may make your body release hormones like adrenaline, anxiety, irritation, etc., which may keep you awake at night. 

What should you eat at dinner?

Your dinner should be light. Avoid caffeine, sweets, spices, and saturated fats. It should be below 300 calories. If you still feel hungry, you can eat a few nuts. They have many unsaturated fats and fibres, making them a healthy nighttime snack. 

Include fibre, carbohydrates, and lean proteins in your diet. Have brown rice, wheat bread, and lean proteins; these foods help you digest them easily and sleep properly. 

Alcohol is the greatest enemy of insomnia. This is perhaps why mental health professionals warn patients to avoid drinking at bedtime as an integral part of insomnia treatment. 

Takeaway

Sleep is perhaps the best food for the brain. It gives your brain time to recharge itself. It helps to soothe your nerves and rejuvenate yourself. But what if you can’t get your much-needed sleep at night? What if you have to suffer from insomnia month after month? 

The best option is to consult a sleep expert to determine where you are wrong. Furthermore, try to avoid consuming these nine foods before bedtime, as they lead to poor sleep quality.

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