If you’ve ever had a good night’s kip disturbed by cheese dreams , or that last, inadvisable coffee, you’ll be aware of these items’ ability to wreak havoc on getting some shut-eye.
The difference between having a good night’s sleep and falling short of that can be huge. The knock-on effects of sleep deprivation can lead to weight-gain , high blood pressure – and even heart disease.
To this end, sleep has become big business. There are pills, apps, teas, sprays and books which all promise to help send us off into a deep and replenishing slumber.
But if you’ve tried every lotion, potion, tablet and piece of tech out there and found nothing really works, then there are a few dietary tweaks which might help.
It’s not always possible to control what you eat – especially when socialising in the evening. But if possible, both nutritionists and sleep experts have put their heads together and revealed in Health what to avoid eating before bed.
It’s probably no surprise how wolfing one of these down – however delicious – negatively impacts sleep. After all, it’s never been exactly championed as a health food.
The fat contained in a bacon cheeseburger stimulates acid production in the stomach.
This, in turn, can spill in to the oesophagus, leading to heartburn, which is guaranteed to keep you awake.
Foods high in fat such as a cheeseburger also loosen the barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus, which means that same acid can leak into places where it shouldn’t be.
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Forget the term ‘nightcap’, according to the site, having a couple of drinks to unwind before bed time is bad news for having a decent sleep.
This is because alcohol metabolises rapidly in our systems – which is why you may find you wake up several times during the night after a few drinks. Not only this, but it also damages the ‘quality’ of sleep you’re getting
Alcohol also amplifies and strengthens any snoring. So if you share a bed, that’s somehting to consider too.
Bad news for chocoholics or those with a sweet tooth . While dark chocolate is often touted as a healthier alternative to other chocolatey treats, it’s not a perfect substitute.
Dark chocolate unfortunately contains caffeine, with Health pointing out how a Hershey’s special-dark bar has 20 milligrams of caffeine.
This amounts to half an ounce of espresso. The stimulant theobromine found in chocolate also increases the heart rate and causes restlessness.
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There’s nothing like a takeaway curry sometimes. But the spices making up some of our favourite dishes may lead to a lack of sleep.
According to Health, “One study conducted in Australia found that young men who poured Tabasco sauce and mustard on their dinner had more trouble falling asleep and experienced less deep sleep than men who ate blander suppers. Spices can also cause heartburn”.
This even applies to chicken, sadly (although turkey contains tryptophan, a chemical which can aid nodding off).
Any type of protein can place a burden on our digestive system, which should slow to 50 per cent while we’re asleep.
So rather than focusing on sleeping, the body is now channelling its efforts into digestion.
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There are items which, because of their chemical and muscle relaxing properties, or where they rank on the glycemic index, can bring on sleep – and ensure its quality. Here are a few: