The 7 worst foods and drink that disrupt sleep
Everyone knows it’s better not to drink coffee right before bed if you want to have an uninterrupted night’s rest. Make sure to steer clear of the following foods (or lean toward these snacks for better sleep) to ensure that nothing comes between you and a night full of zzzs.
The caffeine-sensitive should avoid coffee at least six hours before bedtime, or even earlier if you find that afternoon java interferes with your nighttime snooze. Don’t forget about coffee ice cream — while it doesn’t contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, there’s still enough of a hit to disrupt sleep. A four-ounce serving of Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream, for example, contains almost as much caffeine as a 12-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew.
Oh, and beer lovers, watch out for those coffee porters and stouts, too.
An Australian study of men who had added Tabasco splashes to their meal showed they couldn’t fall asleep as quickly as men who had consumed bland dinners; the Tabasco-eaters also failed to get into as deep a sleep as those who avoided the spice.
You might find it more restful to enjoy a spicy Indian curry or Ma Po Tofu at lunch, rather than dinner. The effects of spicy cuisine can linger way past mealtime, due to the potential for heartburn and the possibility the spice will increase your core temperature, leading to restless sleep.
Another insomnia culprit is soda, because of the combination of caffeine and sugar. The two ingredients can generate an energy spurt in the evening when your body should be in wind-down mode.
A glass or two (or seven) of wine before bed may lull you into a sleepy state. However, alcohol metabolizes quickly, leading to a sly side effect — restless sleep in the form of numerous nighttime wake-ups.
Alcohol increases snoring and bathroom trips, which can result in an earlier and frequent wake-ups. Research also shows that when women consumed one glass of bourbon or vodka combined with caffeine-free soda, they took longer to fall asleep and slept for fewer hours.
Pizza and burgers
Pizza, bacon cheeseburgers and other foods overloaded with fat are another no-no right before bed. Fat pushes acid production in the stomach into high-gear, resulting in heartburn and likely disturbed sleep. Foods that are high in saturated fat, while also being low in fiber, have been linked to less restorative sleep throughout the night, research has shown.
While dark chocolate gets high marks for heart-healthy benefits, it also contains the largest amount of caffeine compared to its milk and white counterparts. Consider a square or two for an after-dinner indulgence but try not to go beyond that.
A whole bar (1.45 ounces) of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar contains 20 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 12 milligrams in a whole bar (1.55 ounces) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Consider that 20 milligrams is about half of what would be found in sodas like Dr Pepper and Diet Coke.
Crave a bowl of cereal at the end of the night? No problem as long as you go for low-sugar cereals — Cheerios over Cap’n Crunch. The cereals high in sugar quickly digest to cause blood sugar spikes. This, in turn, has the possibility to impact sleep hormones, causing a more restless sleep. Check the cereal labels for the sugar content, keeping the ultra-sweet cereal indulgences to the morning hours.
The adage, you are what you eat, is just as true during your sleeping hours. So be mindful of what you consume just before bed, to help ensure a full night’s rest.
Written by Andrea Lynn
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