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How Does Food Affect Sleep?

May 01, 2018

Everyone, at some point throughout their life, has had trouble sleeping. This can be one of the most frustrating experiences when the problem cannot be pinpointed. It doesn’t only ruin a night. It can completely throw off sleep patterns and ruin the next day. Without a good night’s sleep, the mind and body can be affected. Lack of sleep can cause mood swings, depression, weight gain, high blood pressure and much more. However, finding the problem can be even more exhausting. While most people look for problems in the bedroom such as pillows, mattresses, loud noises or lighting, they may not realize the source of the problem may lie in the kitchen. There are many different foods that can cause disruptions in sleep patterns and can prevent someone from falling asleep for a variety of reasons. Different substances and nutrients in foods and drinks can have a negative effect on the body. While there are many foods and drinks that can disrupt your sleep, there are also many foods and drink that can improve your sleep. The key to getting a great night’s sleep is knowing which foods and drink to avoid and which foods and drink to have when having trouble sleeping.

What Foods Should Be Avoided

Many people know to avoid caffeine before bed. This includes drinks such as coffee, soda, energy drinks and even tea. However, not many know to avoid alcohol as well. While alcohol can cause drowsiness, it also causes frequent urination. This will disrupt sleep later in the night. Foods such as cheeseburgers, bacon or anything fried are horrible to eat just before trying to sleep. The high fat content will feel heavy and uncomfortable in the stomach. Foods high in sugar can cause the body to release too much energy at once. In addition, foods that cause heartburn can make it near impossible to fall asleep. Foods likely to cause heartburn are spicy foods and foods with high acidity such as grapefruit. Not only does heartburn cause discomfort, but it also makes it near impossible to lay down.

What Foods Can Be Eaten

While it is best to avoid eating or drinking before bed, some foods or drink can help someone to fall asleep if they are struggling. Different chemicals found in certain foods can help people relax and fall asleep faster. Examples of these chemicals are melatonin, magnesium, potassium and tryptophan. Melatonin is found in cherries. Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. Tryptophan is found in milk and turkey. It is also helpful to have foods high in carbs and fiber. This will allow for a longer and deeper sleep as the energy is slowly released.

Questions and Answers:

Q: Does the time I eat make a difference?

A: Yes, the time you eat does make a difference. If possible, it is good to try to avoid eating within an hour or two of going to bed.

Q: Does the amount of food I eat throughout the day affect my sleep at night?

A: Yes! If you overeat throughout the day, you will tend to feel uncomfortable and heavy when you lie down to sleep.

Q: What about medications?

A: Medications can have a severe effect on sleep. Some medications contain caffeine, which keep you up at night. Other medications are known to cause drowsiness. Check with your doctor’s office to see when is the best time to take your medications.

Q: Can I have water before bed?

A: While water can help some get to sleep, it can cause problems later in the night. If you drink too much water, you will be getting up all throughout the night. Drink water in moderation.