Many of us have quite peculiar habits when it comes to food. What we eat throughout the day affects our behavior in the course of the day. Our body gets a variety of things from the food we eat. Various chemicals that show different effects on our body’s workings are taken in when we eat. What we eat before doing something affects our performance at work straightaway. That is why we drink coffee before a long night of work or take pre-workout to excite our body for exercise. Intake of foods containing stimulants energizes our body instantly. Some things make us feel relaxed and sleepy while eating them. It is all chemicals.
Before calling off the day, what you put into your tummy is gonna be a deciding factor in the quality of sleep you get. Some of the foods you eat might improve your sleep, while others can deteriorate it.
In this article, we will tell you about some of the worst and best foods to eat, before going to bed.
You can take it as a general thumb rule, that, while sleeping our body tends to put off all the active, energy-consuming processes of our body so it does not require energy. Anything that is high on carbs, or stimulants is a no-no straightaway. So, before you go to bed, try to avoid food containing stimulants like caffeine, cocoa, etc.
Some of the worst food choices before bed are as follows:
We all know how coffee works. We dope on coffee so we can feel energized, active and avoid sleep. So coffee before bed becomes a bad choice right away.
Coffee contains caffeine which acts as a stimulant for our central nervous system. It alerts our brain, letting it from feeling tired or sleepy. It makes our body more active and responsive. If you take coffee before sleeping, you might face trouble sleeping, get an uneasy sleep and feel shaky in the morning. So, it is not wise to consume coffee before going to bed.
Just like coffee, chocolates are also caffeine-rich, they will stimulate your Central Nervous System and prepare it for some activity. Quite the opposite of sleeping right? So another nay is chocolate.
Cheese might be fulfilling a dinner but eating cheese before you go to bed, eating cheese can prove to be a poor choice. An amino acid, Tyramine, acts as a stimulant in this case. This amino acid is highly present in cheese. This amino acid activates our bodies' emergency systems and increases adrenaline and cortisol levels. Thus, eating cheese should be avoided before you go to sleep.
Pizzas and Burgers
Pizzas and burgers are put on this list for some quite important reasons. They are rich in calories and different types of acids that stimulate our bodies. Cheese, tomato sauce, and various other toppings of your pizza can impact your sleep cycle. Acids that are present in this food can cause heartburn. The fatty acids in these foods are not quite easy to digest. Our bodies have to do a lot of work in digesting them. Eating these foods before you sleep, will make your digestive machinery work a lot. All this causes disrupted sleep cycles.
Food that is rich in spices is a nightmare for your sleep for two basic reasons. First, spicy foods like curries have a lot of capsaicin. This chemical increases our body temperature. Body temperature is regulated basically because of the blood flow of our body. Increased body temperature means faster blood flow and blood pressure. Such active processes are enemies of good sleep.
Secondly, spicy food requires much more energy and time to digest. Their digestion keeps our digestive system active while we try to sleep. This can lead to getting restless sleep.
Soda cans are bundles of caffeine. There is a reason they are called energy drinks. Soda contains two things that surge our energy levels. First, as we listed, is the stimulant caffeine, and the other one is sugar. It contains humongous amounts of sugar that stock up our glucose storage, the caffeine increases the usage of glucose and keeps us active. So popping a soda can before sleep is something you must avoid.
You might have enjoyed a heavy slumber after getting a bottle down. But it is something not recommended before sleeping. Alcohol makes us feel dizzy and sleepy. We might even snooze for longer hours. But it influences your sleep cycle in negative ways.
Alcohol is regularly consumed before bed can lead to sleep apnea and insomnia. It affects the duration of our sleep and the quality of different stages of our sleep.
Our sleep can be divided into two broad stages - Non-Rapid Eye Movement and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
The REM stage is often when we dream. During this time, our brain processes information that is to be stored in our long-term memory.
Consumption of alcohol reduces the duration and quality of the REM stage which is quite unhealthy for our bodies.
Acidic Fruits like Orange
Food that is high in acidic content can cause uneasy and restless sleep. Acidic foods can cause heartburn and also lead to acid reflux in our digestive tract. This can make you feel uneasy while you sleep and lead to a poor night of sleep. Instead, little sweet fruits with optimal sugar content are a better choice for fruits to eat at night.
We often treat ourselves to Ice creams in desserts. If you go to bed soon after dinner. Feasting on Ice cream for dessert might not be the right thing. Ice creams have a very high content of sugars. While a little carb can improve sleep, high amounts of sugar can lead to poor sleep and tiredness in the morning even after a night of sleep.
The reason why heavy sugar intake at night is not a good choice is that it causes the amount of sugar in our blood to surge at first. Then this soaring amount of glucose gets converted into a chemical called glycogen for storage in our body. This leads to a fall in the sugar levels of blood. Low sugar levels are taken as emergencies by your body and it starts releasing the stress hormone, cortisol. This wakes us from our sleep to respond to the emergency. So, ice creams and other high-sugar foods are strictly a no before bed.
Eating salted food products causes an increase in the level of sodium in our bodies. The high amount of sodium causes dehydration and diuresis. A dry throat and excessive urination are surely gonna impact your sleep. So, before heading to bed, avoid food that has high salt content.
Dry fruits are always a healthy choice. They are rich in various nutrients that improve our health. But they might not be the best choice of food before heading to bed. The reason is that they are dried. When we fall asleep we don’t want our bodies to be dehydrated. Feeling thirsty can wake you up from your sleep and make you feel uneasy. You might also drink a lot of water to quench your thirst. Doing so is also not a good thing as it will make you run for the washroom quite a lot at night.
Best Foods To Eat Before Bed
As there are foods that affect your sleep negatively, there are some foods that complement your sleep cycle and help you get a good and efficient sleep. Where high-calorie intake can disrupt your sleep, light carb intake maintains sugar levels in your blood and help you get a good sleep.
Food items that are light on your stomach also give you good sleep as your body does not have to work hard to digest them.
Some food items that are well recommended to have before sleeping are as listed below:
Many nuts like almonds and walnuts are known to help in getting good sleep. The reason behind it is that these nuts are natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep-inducing hormone that prepares our body for dozing off.
Moreover, These nuts contain lush amounts of magnesium. Magnesium interacts with our muscle fibers and relaxes our muscles. It also reduces the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, preventing it from disrupting sleep cycles. Thus, helping in a good night of sleep.
Bananas are also very rich sources of magnesium. You might prefer to eat bananas after workouts as a protein source but you can take them before heading to bed also. Magnesium from bananas relaxes our muscles and its moderate sugar content keeps blood sugar levels maintained. Moreover, it has an amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by our body to produce a hormone that elevates our mood and relaxes us. This hormone is none other than Serotonin. So eating bananas is good for getting a sound sleep.
Tryptophan again! It is surely a good thing to feast on a turkey. But, you know, it can also be a feast for your sleep. It is rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Thus eating turkey at night will increase the amount of serotonin in your body giving your body a good rest while you sleep.
Spinach is known for a thousand other benefits along with its ability to enhance sleep. The green leaves of spinach are very rich in tryptophan, folates, magnesium, and various vitamins. All these nutrients pump up the production of serotonin and melatonin. Thus, eating green vegetables like spinach will help you in relieving your mood and get a good night of sleep.
Kiwi is liked for its various health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. But the fruit is also rich in serotonin. Our body produces serotonin when it feels elevated and relaxed. Intake of kiwi at night, before you sleep off, will relax your mind and elevate your mood. So, eating a few slices of kiwi will help you enjoy a good night of sleep.
Foods That Contain Cherries
Cherries are quite rich in the sleep hormone melatonin. Intake of melatonin relaxes our body and induces sleep. People that face trouble falling asleep are often treated with melatonin supplements. Cherries being a natural source provide optimal amounts of melatonin to our body and help us sleep soundly.
Rice is a good source of sugar. Eating white rice a little before bed provides the body with good amounts of sugar. When we sleep the amount of sugar in our blood takes a dip. If it falls a lot, cortisol, the stress hormone, gets triggered as released. This hormone disrupts our sleep and wakes us up. Thus, taking a light amount of sugar before going to bed will ensure that sugar levels stay right and you get good sleep.
Dairy products like milk and yogurt are known to enhance sleep quality. Dairy products are a source of amino acid tryptophan and moderate carbs. Tryptophan happens to be the precursor of the hormone serotonin. Intake of tryptophan increases serotonin production, making us feel relaxed and elevated. Thereby helping us sleep better.
The food that we eat governs our body's behavior. Therefore, you need to be conscious about what you eat and how it affects your body’s functioning. Just like we intake different kinds of things before performing a certain activity, we should do the same before we go to sleep. Getting a night of quality sleep is very important for our body’s well-being. A poor night’s sleep affects our functioning throughout the other day. All of this can be regulated by eating proper food before you doze off. The chemicals in the food you ate before heading to bed affect the quality of sleep you gain. So, just a little change in your eating habits will help you enjoy a good night of sleep. Drop the foods that are hard to digest and contain stimulants and choose items that are easily digested and relax our body.