It’s obvious to all that a coffee or energy drink before bed aren’t conducive to a great night’s sleep, but there’s lots of foods that can give you more of a boost than a rest if eaten for your final meal or snack of the day.
The closer it gets to your bedtime, the lighter your food intake should be. Anything that requires thorough digestion keeps your body and stomach active rather than letting it relax and drift off into sleep. These foods are best avoided in the afternoon and evening, and we cover some of the main culprits right here.
Processed foods with lots of artificial ingredients are normally not easily broken down by the body and so should be avoided if you’re often kept up with tummy rumbles. Substitute white bread with brown, white rice with brown, and white pasta with wholemeal.
An easy takeaway but a bad bedtime snack, pizza contains two ingredients that can disrupt your dozing off. Acidic and sugary tomato sauce can be difficult to digest, and with lots of cheese to boot, you’re looking at the perfect storm of tummy troubles to keep you awake.
Lots of people enjoy a bowl of cereal before bed, but it’s best to stick to high-fibre types such as bran flakes, and to avoid a sprinkle of sugar. Cereals can contain really high amounts of sugar and spike your blood sugar right when you’re looking to rest it.
Any spicy foods should be avoided a few hours before you get to sleep, even if you enjoy them. Spice can irritate your stomach even if you don’t realise it, and may wake you once you’ve fallen asleep even if you have no trouble nodding off. Those prone to heartburn should make a point of avoiding any spicy meals or snacks up to six hours before they intend to go to sleep.
Any food containing lots of saturated fat should be enjoyed earlier on in the day so as not to affect your night’s sleep. Studies have shown that consuming saturated fat won’t actually affect you falling asleep as such, but will promote lighter sleep and therefore greatly increase your chances of waking up frequently.
The perfect combination of both fat and sugar results in ice cream causing a disaster for your sleep. Fat takes a long time to digest in the body, so even if you don’t realise or feel it, you could be stressing your body even hours after you’ve had a scoop (or two!) of ice cream.
Of course, if you’re peckish before bed it’s best not to go to sleep hungry. Bananas or a handful of almonds make for a great snack to satisfy the palate and help you still snooze successfully. Relax, and pick food that’s right for you!