The Impact of Diet on Sleep: Foods that Disrupt Your Restful Night
Everyone knows that a healthy diet is essential to maintain optimal health. However, not many people are aware of the impact of their diets on their sleep patterns. The food we consume can have a significant effect on the quality of sleep we get at night. Consuming certain foods can disrupt our sleep, leading to sleepless nights and tiredness throughout the day.
Alcohol and caffeine are two of the main culprits that are linked to sleep disruptions. While many people believe that a nightcap can help them sleep better, it is not true. Consuming more than a small drink of alcohol can cause awakenings during the night, thereby leading to sleeplessness. Similarly, coffee and other caffeinated drinks are known stimulants that can keep you awake instead of inducing sleep.
Apart from alcohol and caffeine, there are several other foods that can disrupt our sleep patterns. Let’s take a closer look at some of these foods:
1. Roughage Is Good, Just Not At Bed Time
High-fiber foods like lentils, beans, peas, or oatmeal are beneficial for digestion and weight loss, but they can also cause problems with sleep. Eating a late dinner that comprises high-fiber foods can result in an uncomfortable and restless night. This is because the food has not been adequately digested by the time you go to bed, leading to stomach discomfort and disrupted sleep.
2. More Veggies? Thanks, I’ll Pass
Leafy or green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, beans, and garlic are great for health, but they have a diuretic effect on the body, leading to increased urination. Eating such veggies in large quantities at dinner can result in waking up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and subsequently disrupting your sleep.
3. Red Meat At Night, No One’s Delight!
While lean meat is an excellent source of protein, it takes longer to digest. Consuming red meat before bedtime can result in discomfort, bloating, and cramping, leading to restless sleep.
4. Sugar & Spice, Not So Very Nice
Sugar, sodas, sugary drinks, and cocktails release a rush of energy in the body. Consuming such foods just before bedtime can give you a second wind, leading to poor sleep quality and fatigue in the morning.
5. Add Some Spice! But Not Too Much Please
While hot food is considered an aphrodisiac, it can irritate your stomach lining, leading to poor sleep quality. Spicy and peppery foods can wake up your brain, leading to disrupted sleep.
6. Frying Up Some Goodies, No Can Do
Avoid eating high-fat foods for dinner, as they take a while to break down and digest. Your stomach needs to work extra hard to break down the grease, which can lead to cramping, heartburn, and bathroom visits during the night.
7. A Chocolate Lover? Have It For Lunch Instead
Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine, and anandamide, which can give you a runner’s high and raise your heart rate. Eating chocolate before bedtime can lead to poor sleep quality and restlessness.
8. More Burger? No thanks, I’m Chickening Out
Burgers are high in protein and carbs, and can lead to a feeling of unease while you are trying to sleep. Eating a light and balanced dinner early in the evening can help you avoid disrupted sleep patterns.
In conclusion, our diet choices have a direct impact on the quality of sleep we get at night. Consuming certain foods like alcohol, caffeine, high-fiber foods, spicy foods, and high-fat meals can result in poor sleep quality and restlessness. The key to a restful night’s sleep is to consume a light and balanced meal before bedtime and avoid eating or drinking anything that can interfere with your sleep. So, the next time you are craving a late-night snack, opt for a glass of milk instead, and you will be sure to have a peaceful and restful night’s sleep.