Problems Sleeping? It Might be What You Are Eating That is Keeping You Up
One of the biggest culprits of a restless night is what you may be fueling your body with during the day. What you eat can have a significant effect on how you feel throughout the day and how well you sleep at night. Here are just a few of the biggest eating mistakes that people make when a good night of rest is their goal.
Meals That Are Too Big
While you may initially feel satisfied with a big meal, it can end up sitting like a rock in your stomach later. This feeling can greatly interfere with your sleep. This is particularly true if you eat a meal that is high in fat. Because fat takes longer to digest, it may cause you discomfort when you lay down to go to sleep. Because of this, it is a good idea to avoid eating meals that are high in fat or too heavy in your stomach for at least two hours before bedtime.
It is also helpful if you move around a little bit after eating a big meal. Going for a short walk after dinner will promote better digestion and make it easier for you to sleep.
Spicy and Acidic Foods
Similar to fatty foods, spicy and acidic foods can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep patterns. Spicy foods are most likely to cause heartburn, making it challenging to fall asleep and stay that way. Foods to avoid include chili peppers and curry. Highly acidic foods are also problematic for some people.
It can be tempting to reach for that sweet snack before bedtime. However, doing so may keep you up longer than you intend. High sugar foods are especially problematic for women who have already gone through menopause, as they may bring on night sweats. As you eat sugar, your pancreas releases insulin and causes the body to become overstimulated. While this stimulation may be welcome in the morning, it is not what you want when you are preparing for bed.
Caffeine is the definitive killer when it comes to getting a good night of sleep. Everyone has a different sensitivity to caffeine and how it affects sleep patterns. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine consumption six hours prior to bedtime. Anything less than this and you may be up all night tossing and turning waiting for the effects to wear off. Keep in mind that caffeine is not just limited to coffee. This stimulant is also found in soft drinks, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate.
Many people erroneously believe that the nightcap they enjoy is helping them to sleep better. The truth is that although a drink before bed may help you to fall asleep more quickly, you are far more likely to wake up a few hours later and not be able to doze back to sleep. If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in the evening, you should aim to leave at least two hours before your last drink and when you want to go to sleep.
Drinking Too Much Fluid
Too much fluid, in general, can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. This is because it takes the fluid a few hours to completely exit the body. Drinking a big glass of hot tea right before bed may certainly relax your body and mind, but you will also be up again in an hour to urinate. This problem will be exacerbated if you have a small bladder. Avoiding drinking fluids of any kind within a few hours of bedtime will give you a better chance of enjoying uninterrupted sleep.
Finally, it should be noted that restricting your calories during the day is also a hindrance to quality sleep. Restricting what you eat during the middle of the day will inevitably lead to overeating during the evening hours. In turn, this will lead to an uncomfortable time trying to fall asleep. Keeping your calorie consumption steady throughout the day will yield the best results.
If you are having issues sleeping, you may want to take a close look at your eating habits. Practicing an elimination diet is a good practice if you want to identify what is causing you problems falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
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