We all know sleep is necessary for a healthy body. Although most of us really try to get enough sleep, studies show that too many of us miss the mark way too often. This may be due to family needs, work schedules, a hectic lifestyle, or even simply not feeling tired at bedtime.
Although some people have trouble getting high quality sleep, many people complain that they don’t get enough sleep simply because they have trouble falling asleep at night. Reasons for being unable to fall asleep include: feeling stressed, having cold feet, the room being too quiet and surprisingly enough – certain foods eaten in the hours before bedtime. These foods can keep us wide awake long after bedtime.
1. Caffeinated Beverages
This includes coffee, sodas or tea. The fact is that caffeine is a stimulant. That’s why it’s such a great beverage to help you wake up in the morning. However, the caffeine can remain in your system working as a stimulant for several hours after drinking. So – if you’re going to want to get to sleep on time, you probably want to cut out the caffeinated beverages at least six hours ahead of bedtime. And unfortunately, even the decaf options still have some caffeine in them, so it’s best to just skip them all together.
2. Ice Cream
Ice cream is sometimes known as a great after-dinner dessert. Unfortunately, the sugar and fat that makes ice cream so sweet and tasty can also keep you wide awake when you want to sleep. Sugar is known to cause a reaction in the body, especially for those who may be pre-diabetic. This reaction makes you feel energized as the sugar gets processed by the body. In order to digest fat, the body must exert a lot more energy than it normally would otherwise. In addition, if you eat vanilla ice cream, the vanilla can increase the body’s level of adrenaline, which will leave you wide awake.
Pasta, like sugar-filled foods, can also cause an insulin-spike which in turn increases you feeling of being energetic. This is because it has a high glycemic index number. Foods considered high on the glycemic index scale can cause an immediate energy rush shortly after eating. Plus, pastas are slow to digest, which means they remain in your digestive system for a longer period of time. When there are foods in the digestive system, it does take longer for us to relax and fall asleep.
Although alcohol is a considered a sedative, for many people, that glass of wine has a paradoxical effect. This means that it acts as a stimulant and will keep you awake for a period of time after consuming it. The problem is that we look at alcohol as a great nightcap, but scientific studies show that an increase in alcohol in the bloodstream leads to a longer period of time that it takes to fall asleep. In addition, when consuming alcohol before bed, sleep tends to be broken and not as high quality as sleep after consuming no alcohol.
5. Spicy Foods
The biggest problem with spicy foods, such as chilis or turmeric, is that they easily cause heartburn and indigestion, especially if you’re lying prone. These foods increase the amount of acid within your stomach, which can cause a churning sensation that can disrupt your regular sleep cycles. In addition, spicy foods are known to “waken” the senses for several hours after eating, which also make it harder to fall asleep. Some research even shows that spicy foods increase the metabolism shortly after eating. Although you want to boost your metabolism if you’re trying to lose weight, doing so before bedtime is not a good idea for a peaceful night’s sleep. If you do have spicy food before bed and are worried about falling asleep, sip some pepper mint tea or have a small glass of milk to help settle your stomach properly.
6. Red Meat
There are two problems when it comes to eating red meat before bed and trying to fall asleep. The first is that red meat is more difficult for the body to digest. The harder the body has to work to digest the foods you’re eating, the less likely it will be to relax enough to help you fall asleep. The second is that red meat contains high levels of protein and higher levels of fat. Not only does meat take longer to digest, protein and fat also take a lot of energy to digest, making your sleep much less restful.
If you do have trouble falling asleep, but tend to get a little hungry at night, here is a good list of foods you can incorporate into your night time ritual: almonds, bananas, oatmeal, dairy, lemon balm tea, pineapple, and pumpkin seeds. Of course, the key to eating shortly before bed is to eat very small amounts. Any food that is eaten in too high a quantity prior to bedtime can disrupt sleep simply because your body must work to digest the foods.
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