Food and Drink To Avoid Before BedtimePublished On Thursday 21 Jun 2018 by Sticky Beak
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Sleep is the topic-du-jour right now; even I have a book entitled “Why we Sleep” by M.Walker on the go! We all know the importance of investing in good quality beds and mattresses regularly, and not to indulge in technology-heavy activities straight before bedtime if we want to sleep well.
The temperature of our slumber palaces and the benefits of wearing night attire made from natural fibres have both been discussed at length, and even been researched. Exercise has been scrutinised too; in terms of intensity and types best suited to evening hours.
Now, I don’t know about you dear reader, but I have sometimes gone up the wooden hill to bed having indulged in a late evening meal - and consequently suffered a bout of indigestion and less-than-restful repose. The common causes are over production of stomach acid and acid reflux caused by weak muscles in the top of the stomach where it meets the oesophagus (food canal), but recently certain foodstuffs have had the finger of blame pointed at them too.
True to my name, I had my curiosity piqued and did a bit of “sticky beaking” to find some of the most common culprits that can interfere with the quality of your kip. Now, although the first two suspects on the “slumber stealers” list aren’t foods per se, they definitely contribute to depleted quality of sleep.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a stimulant believe it or not, so whilst a single glass of wine or small measure of your tipple of choice might help you drift off to the land of nod, too much will impair the quality of your deep sleep. This will leave you feeling far from refreshed in the morning.
- Coffee: It’s well known that Caffeine is also a stimulant; goodness knows I need my own “cup of kick-start” to get the cogs turning in the morning! There is a lot of advice out there saying to avoid caffeinated drinks from mid-afternoon, but sadly, this has now been shown to not be enough to off-set the disruptive effects of this compound. As well as having that wonderful immediate effect on our bodies (and who doesn’t love the caffeine rush?!), caffeine can wreak its havoc on our bodies for hours after. That lunch-time latte can still affect your slumber I’m sorry to say, guys.
- Cheese: this one is an absolute gutter to me; you know how much I love cheese! My Granny Bird always said that it would give me nightmares if I had cheese before bed, it never has given me bad dreams, but I never realised it could interfere with my sleep process. Hard cheeses are rich in Tyramine, an Amino Acid that stimulates the brain and therefore makes you feel more alert.
- Spicy Foods: Ah, the oft-blamed suspect of many an indigestion bout! Turns out The Man Bird and I may owe a lot of spices an apology; the main culprit is Capsaicin, a compound found in Chilli Peppers. Capsaicin hinders the body’s temperature regulation capability, and hot bods are restless bods unfortunately.
- Fatty Foods: Foods high in fat content (think ice cream, and dairy products that aren’t reduced in fat generally) are hard to digest and “lay heavy on the tummy”. If your body is working hard to digest these types of food, it stands to reason that it can’t concentrate on getting you off to La-La land. Fatty foods are often involved in heartburn too – the nemesis of a good nights’ sleep. Perhaps I’ll have to skip that glass of warm milk and biscuit before bed. Drat!
- High G.I (Glycaemic Index) foods and Refined Sugar: Foodstuffs with a high G.I value cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This spike isn’t your friend if you’re in need of ZZZZ’s or needing the quality of your sleep to be spot-on.
The final item on my list will be the last thing you would possibly think of as a sleep saboteur, trust me
- Celery: Surprised? Yep, I was too; you could’ve knocked me down with a feather! I love this veggie, but turns out that it’s one of Mother Natures’ diuretics; if you chomp on this in the evening you could well be up several times in the night needing a Jimmy Riddle (tiddle). Hardly conducive to a good nights’ kip, eh? Citrus fruits can also have the same effect, apparently.
I hope my little list has given you some ideas of a few common foods to avoid before you hit the sack. Speaking of which, it’s late in the day and my bed is calling! Goodnight to you all.