Have you ever considered how the types of food you’ve eaten could affect your nightly slumber? I’m sure you know that caffeine can inhibit a good night’s rest, but there are many other foods to consider avoiding before bedtime to ensure a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
Lifestyle and Diet
What does your general diet look like? Studies show that a diet low in fibre and high in saturated fats and sugars is linked to interrupted sleep. Having an adequate diet filled with wholefoods and fresh fruit and vegetables, helps to support the brain in producing neurotransmitters which are the key to a good night’s rest.
Eating regular, small meals throughout the day helps the body’s circadian rhythm. If you start skipping meals or change the time of day that you eat, this can put your body out of whack, ultimately affecting your sleep and when your body thinks it is time to rest.
What foods should you avoid before bed?
Caffeine – This includes coffee, black tea, energy drinks and chocolate. These awaken your brain, causing you to not feel so tired. While this may be good at the start of the day, it’s not ideal when it’s time to sleep. It’s best to avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bed, and if you feel caffeine really affects you, avoid it from midday onwards.
Fatty foods – Think fried food and unhealthy desserts. These types of food are hard for your body to process, especially when you’re trying to fall asleep. You’ll find yourself uncomfortable throughout the night, and your body will find it very tricky having a good night’s sleep.
Sugar – A little bit of sugar won’t do too much harm but having an entire bag of lollies before bed will. Consuming too much sugar will give your body a rush of energy, which is not what your body needs right before bed.
Alcohol – Do you find having a drink or two before bed makes you drowsy? While this might be the case, alcohol actually inhibits your brain from having a deep sleep, which is vital for waking up and feeling refreshed the next morning.
What foods help you sleep better?
Herbal teas – Caffeine free teas like rooibos, chamomile and lavender are the perfect night-time brews to help your body unwind and relax.
Milk – Dairy contains tryptophan which is a substance that promotes sleep. Having a warm glass of milk with a dash of honey can be a delicious treat before bed.
Nuts – Nuts contain melatonin which is the hormone that regulates sleep. If you want a little snack before bed, reach for some healthy nuts! Walnuts are the best when it comes to helping you sleep.
Focusing on your diet can have a huge impact on your sleep patterns. Try having some of the foods that help you sleep better this week to see if you feel more refreshed and ready for the day ahead!