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Top 10 Foods to Avoid to Achieve Better Sleep

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention associated insomnia to mistakes and accidents on the road and on the workplace. About 50 to 70 million adults exhibited some form of sleep disorder, with men having higher prevalence of insomnia than women[1].

If you are experiencing sleeplessness, the food you eat before bedtime might be keeping you awake at night and exhausted during daytime. Below are the foods you must avoid at least three hours before sleep time, so you can have quality snooze to help you feel restored and recharged.

 

Chicken/Meat

chicken

Any form of high protein can be counterproductive when eaten at night. Our digestion is slower by 50 percent while sleeping so if you eat plenty of protein, your digestion is even much slower. Rather than focusing on sleeping, your body will now focus on digesting.

Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Chocolate is not only high in calories but also in caffeine. A Hershey special dark bar contains 20 mg of caffeine, which is nearly the same amount of a half-ounce espresso. In addition, chocolate contains theobromine, a form of stimulant that can increase heart rate and cause sleeplessness.

Indian curry

indian food

It is not because it’s Indian food but the amount of spice added on it that can cause sleeplessness. A study found that men who put mustard and Tabasco sauce on their dinner find it hard to fall asleep. The participants experienced less deep sleep than those who had bland dinner[2]. Spices can cause heartburn. Any dish that is spicy and hot can be a potential sleep-disrupting recipe.

Coffee

coffee

Like dark chocolate, coffee contains caffeine, a potent CNS stimulant. Drinking a cappuccino too close to bedtime will make you awake at night. Of course, each person has different sensitivity to caffeine. But if you don’t know your tolerance, better skip coffee at night.

Wine

drinking wine

Any kind of alcohol can be awful for sleep. The reason? Alcohol metabolizes quickly in your body, causing you to wake up several times during the night. One of the most comprehensive studies to date on the effect of alcohol on sleep showed that drinking alcohol before sleep may increase wakefulness and disrupt sleep in healthy adults, affecting more women than men[3].  

Pizza

Pizza

The tomato sauce can increase stomach acidity, which may cause late night abdominal discomfort. In addition, pizza is more than just a snack; having a second dinner adds huge amount of calories that you really don’t need.  

Sugary Cereal

cereal

A bowl of cereal can sometimes help you fall asleep, but only if you stick to low-sugar, high fiber brands such as bran flakes. Cereals loaded with sugar digest quickly in your system, increasing blood sugar level that can disrupt some important sleep hormones.

Chili

chili

Spicy foods not only burn your taste buds, they can irritate your tummy too. This can make it even harder to stay asleep.

Soda

soda

The possible caffeine and the bubbles in soda is a must-avoid drink before bedtime. Soda is full of sugar, which is highly stimulating.

Orange Juice

orange juice

Citrus fruits are highly acidic and can be problematic for those with a sensitive bladder or have a reflux. Eat banana or apple instead. The complex carbohydrates in these fruits can help your sleep while fiber helps delay absorption of sugar.

 

References:

[1] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Problem. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/

[2] Edwards SJ et.al. (1992). Spicy meals disturb sleep: An Effect on Thermoregulation?. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/1399758/

[3] J. Todd Arnedt, et.al. (February 2011). Sleep Following Alcohol Intoxication In Healthy, Young Adults: Effects Of Sex And Family History Of Alcoholism. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083467/


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