We know sleep is important for our health. Adequate, restful sleep increases productivity and reduces the risk of medical, industrial and automotive accidents. Good sleep habits also help fight infection, support your metabolism to help prevent weight gain and diabetes, and promote a good mood. If you are having trouble sleeping, take a look at the foods you are eating, especially those you consume close to bedtime. A few sneaky ingredients may be getting in the way of your good night’s sleep.
- Limit Caffeine: Check out your caffeine habits. Drinking any caffeine late in the day can disrupt your sleep. For some, caffeine at any time of the day is a no-non. Limit yourself to one cup (in the morning) and really avoid caffeinated coffee, tea and soda after lunch. Don’t forget that decaf coffee also contains a little bit of caffeine. Try herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint to satisfy your craving for a warm beverage.
- Steer Clear of Late Night Sweets: Chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains. For many people, a small amount of dark chocolate will not affect their sleep, but if you suspect it may be affecting yours, try skipping your night-time treat or choose something that doesn’t contain chocolate.
- Avoid Alcohol: Many people think an evening cocktail will help them sleep. After all, it must be called a “nightcap” for a reason! While a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail may help you fall asleep by depressing your nervous system, it will harm your chances of getting a restful night of sleep. Alcohol disrupts your sleep cycles and can cause you to miss out on some of your deep sleep.
- Skip the Spice: A large heavy meal or spicy food may also disrupt your sleep. Spicy food can slightly raise your body’s core temperature which may lead to poor sleep quality. Both spicy foods and heavy, fatty foods can lead to heartburn, which may make it difficult for you to fall asleep and may cause you to wake up throughout the night.
- Allow Time for Digestion: High fiber and gas-producing foods, such as broccoli and beans, may also be preventing your best sleep. While these foods are important to your health, eating them too close to bedtime may cause some digestive discomfort that may keep you awake later than you would like. Heavy, fatty foods take longer to digest and can lead to heartburn, which may make it difficult for you to fall asleep and may cause you to wake up throughout the night.
By following these tips and taking the time to relax, breathe and settle before you turn in for the night…you may find you are able to sleep better and be more productive during the day!