5 Foods That Hate Sleep
“One cannot think well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Wolff
Based on Ms. Wolff’s wise words, you may want to take a second glance at your diet if you always have a hard time falling asleep. More specifically, there are certain food types that actually prevent sleep and can lengthen the amount of time it takes for you to indulge into sweet slumber. While caffeine is an obvious, there are some obscure food types that can do the same if not more damage to your sleep. If you have a busy upcoming day and absolutely need a good night’s rest then make sure you stay away from the following foods.
While ending the day with a nightcap may seem like a good idea, alcoholic beverages disturb our sleeping patterns. Since alcohol is a depressant, it affects our central nervous system by preventing the ability to reach deep sleep. It also dehydrates the body and has you going for the toilet more often. This would interrupt your sleep and prevent you from having a restful night.
- Spicy food and tomato-based food
Spicy and tomato-based foods have very high acidic content. I know what you’re thinking – “but they taste so great!” Although these foods contain an abundance of spices, which explode in our mouth and create an amazing taste, once they reach our digestive tract the acids begin to damage our stomach linings. This will make you reaching for the toilet a few more times than you would like to. Spicy foods also cause an increase in body temperature, which, if you’ve done your homework on cure for insomnia, is a main trigger of sleeplessness. So try to avoid eating any kind of spicy or tomato-based food for dinner, but if you’re reading this and it’s too late (you just couldn’t resist eating that bowl of chicken masala, could you?), you can drink milk to neutralize the acid.
The urban myth that cheese can induce nightmares has long been proven wrong. Nonetheless, the theory that cheese can cause insomnia is somewhat correct. Different kinds of cheese can prompt or prevent sleep. Cottage cheese, for instance, is full of the amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the body. Other types of cheeses (mostly the aged or fermented ones i.e. cheddar cheese), contain the amino acid tyramine, which signals the body to be more awake and alert. With that said, not every type of cheese has the same nutritional content. If you’re a cheese lover and can’t go a day without it, stick to cottage cheese.
I, myself am no stranger to ending the night with a warm and fuzzy cup of cocoa. And while it may seem relaxing when taken in small sips as you cuddle up in bed watching a new episode of OITNB, chocolate can cause some pretty bad side effects – that is, sleeplessness. Specifically dark chocolate contains enough caffeine that it may have you tossing and turning for a while before shutting down (1 bar = about 30-40 milligrams of caffeine). It also contains a stimulant known as theobromine, which increases your heart rate. If you’re a chocolate addict (let’s be honest, most of us are) then stick with milk chocolate, which has a much lower caffeine content.
- Energy drinks
This last one is a no-brainer. Energy drinks are packed with caffeine, sugars and other stimulants. For instance, most energy shots are filled with the amino acid taurine, which boosts mental alertness and increases heart rate. Additionally, the effects that energy drinks cause are long-term. So even if you start the day with an energy drink, the result of wakefulness may last until bedtime. If you know a particular brand of energy drinks with a taste so good you can’t help but take a sip, choose another beverage. There are plenty of delicious, non-sleep-preventing drinks out there that can satisfy you just as well. Or if you really need an energy booster to kick-start your busy schedule, go with something a little less damaging, like green tea or guarana gum.
Your diet plays a huge role in overall lifestyle and wellbeing. So consider this list as your new sleep easy solution. Bear in mind that we’re not telling you to give up these delicious foods completely (spicy food is life!), but perhaps try to cut back for a few days just to see if it can improve your ability to fall asleep and to good night sleep. Good luck!