You have done your research on tips to sleep better. You have followed every instruction. You have cooled the room, turned the lights off, taken a long bath and applied warm oil beneath your feet. But, you are not able to fall asleep and stay asleep. If lack of sleep is your major issue, probably the plans to think straight and function flawlessly would be a dream that never comes true.
You are not alone who is struggling. A lot of people are suffering from lack of sleep and are clueless about why sleep is always slipping away. Many accept it and try to live with the issue, calling themselves the unfortunate gang of insomniacs.
But, would you imagine that probably your food has a role to make you sleepless? The real issue might be your dinner. There are foods that can drive sleep away. Excluding them from evening snacks and dinner will help you to achieve quality sleep. If you are thinking of a glass of wine or espresso, those aren’t the only ones that can turn you into a night owl. Some of the healthy foods that are beneficial to the body aren’t suitable for dinner. Here are eight such healthy foods that can keep you awake at night.
Most people are aware of coffee's powers to drive away sleep and are wise to avoid it after four in the evening. But, dark chocolate is a favourite on the dinner table too. Many love a bite of the bar or making a gooey delicious dessert with it. It is known for its rich antioxidant content. Regulated consumption of dark chocolate can improve blood circulation and even lower blood pressure. The antioxidants fight off free radicals that can harm neurons. Hence improves cognitive functions. If you buy a chocolate bar, be sure to read the list of ingredients and buy one that has at least 80 percent of cocoa in it.
However, dark chocolate contains caffeine too which is a stimulant that can improve mental alertness. In fact, dark chocolate has more caffeine than any other type of chocolate. Most varieties have 20 mg of caffeine per 4.5 gram of dark chocolate. But, in a bar of dark chocolate that has 80 percent cacao will have up to 75 mg caffeine. How long the caffeine in it can keep you awake is depended on the caffeine sensitivity too. Some people metabolize caffeine faster than others.
This Japanese superfood probably doesn’t have any other disadvantages. Everyone has been praising it and loves the pretty colour and flavour. Matcha is nothing but the fine powder made of the same leaves that we use as green tea. This makes them a lot more antioxidant-rich than green tea.
Regular consumption of matcha can boost metabolism and prevent the growth of cancer cells. While matcha is the new ‘it drink’, it is not suitable before bedtime. It has three times more caffeine than regular green tea. The appropriate time to drink matcha tea is at least six hours before going to bed.
We grew up hearing that drinking a glass of warm milk can put you right to sleep. Milk and other dairy products have an amino acid called tryptophan, which is used in the production of serotonin, one of the happy hormones. This will make you feel calm and helps you to sleep. But, you have to be careful while choosing cheese for dinner. Most cheeses are high in fat. They could cause discomfort due to indigestion at night. This will disrupt sleep. However, this will occur if you eat it too close to bedtime. However, the popular myth that says eating cheese at dinner will give you nightmares is not true. It probably just meant the sleeplessness as the nightmare.
Beef and other red meats are always on the top of the favourite dinner plans. But, red meat is one of the popular anti-sleep foods. If this is your favorite dinner, it then comes at the cost of your sleep. Beef is loaded with protein. Completely digesting the dinner before dawn will require your body to work harder than usual. This will prevent the body from taking rest and recharging for the next day. The appropriate time to include beef and other red meats certainly is not dinner.
There are foods that can increase body temperature. The temperature rise in the body due to certain foods is known as ‘thermogenesis’. The brown fat produced in the process of breaking down food has a protein which causes the body to produce more heat than usual. While Indian cuisine is known for the use of spices, too much of spices can cause the body to produce more heat which will disrupt sleep. Commonly used spices like black pepper and ginger have the same effect. Consuming them a lot at dinner could be the cause of your disturbed sleep. Waking in the middle of the night will interrupt the sleep cycle, and all five stages of sleep will not be completed. This will leave you tired during the day.
Many people prefer a fruit bowl at night instead of a rice meal for dinner. This might not be a great idea if you are prone to insomnia. Fruits have plenty of natural sugars. Both of these doesn't support a good night's sleep. High sugar content will give you an instant energy boost when your body is preparing to go to sleep and takes rest. If you are on a diet or prefers to eat fruits for dinner, hit the fruit bowl two or three hours before going to bed. This will make sure that your body is calm and ready to retire for the day when it is bedtime.
You need to be careful with grains and nuts too which are commonly considered safe and healthy. Some of them like, wheat, oats, and walnuts are acidic in nature. Lying down right after eating these will cause heartburn. This is a condition where the stomach acid flows back up and enters the oesophagus. Since the oesophagus isn't used to the presence of substances of acidic nature, it causes a burning like sensation. If you do not want to skip eating these foods, have your dinner two or three hours before bedtime.
This is probably the simplest yet surprising one on the list. Drinking a large amount of water right before going to bed will make you want to wake up in between and go to the loo. Similar to what happens by eating spicy foods at night, this will also interrupt the sleep cycle. Each stage of sleep should be getting an average of 90 minutes. If you don’t go through all the stages continuously, you won't get quality sleep by morning.