Food and Sleep: How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep
We all know we should be mindful of the food we eat because of our health, but did you know you should also watch what you eat so you can sleep well?
It’s really important to watch our diets because eating certain foods in the hours leading to bedtime can give you a restless night.
1. Consuming caffeine.
Coffee, and other drinks or foods containing caffeine can definitely keep you up at night. This is because caffeine makes you stay alert, and helps your body fight off sleepiness. Caffeine can remain in the bloodstream for several hours, so it’s best to have your final cup of coffee six hours before bedtime. In case you forgot, caffeine is not just present in coffee, but also in chocolate, kola nut, tea, certain soft drinks and some drugs. So if you would like to have a more restful night, watch what you eat 6 hours before bedtime
2. Alcohol consumption.
Taking alcohol just before going to bed is not a good idea, either. Although consuming alcohol tends to make people fall asleep faster, it is actually more disruptive to sleep than anything else. Alcohol reduces Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the stage of sleep in which we dream, and is thought to be the most rejuvenative stage of sleep.
A high consumption of alcohol before bedtime can suppress breathing during sleep, cause sleepwalking, talking during sleep, and possibly memory problems as well. Alcohol consumption should be avoided four hours before bedtime.
3. Eating heavy meals late at night.
Eating heavy meals late at night affects your body's natural rhythm, as it begins the process of digesting food when it should be slowing down as you go to sleep. Besides upsetting your sleep, eating late at night can contribute to weight gain, affect your blood pressure, or even lead to subsequent health problems. It can also cause constipation, bloating, and acid reflux - which definitely make for an uncomfortable night's rest. This also applies to a high fat diet.
4. Sugary foods.
Eating a lot of sugar filled foods, even during the day, can negatively impact your sleep. It can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, less deep sleep, and cause you to wake up more often at night. Have you noticed this?
Although we do not exactly eat nicotine, it is a stimulant similar to caffeine, and produces nearly the same results. If smoking is how you like to relax, you should avoid it several hours before sleeping to avoid yet another restless night, or better still, do your best to quit smoking.
- Dr. Adefemi A. Adeoye’s presentation, Vitafoam 2019 World Sleep Day event.