5 Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime

guest post by Sarah Cummings

Is your sensitive stomach causing you sleep deprivation problems? Inflammation of the stomach lining can put your body in a state of shock, where lack of sleep will be the least of your worries. Over time it affects the function of other internal organs as well. Furthermore, this process can cause miscommunication issues in the endocrine system, eventually leading to many psychological complications.

To avoid all of these self-induced problems, all you need to do is pay attention to your diet so that every other piece of the puzzle falls into place and creates a healthy YOU. 

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live- Jim Rohn.”

Why is Sleep Important?

Photo credit: gigibiru_kukunings via Visualhunt.com /  CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: gigibiru_kukunings via Visualhunt.com /  CC BY-NC-SA

I cannot stress enough the importance of regular sleeping hours and their beneficial effect on mind and body. There are so many processes that go under way in our body while we are asleep. Our cells regenerate, and thoughts are being contemplated and processed as they are manifested by dreams.

But what does dream have to do with feeling rested?

Your dreams dictate whether you’re going to wake up rested or restless. So if your body doesn’t have enough time to perform all these functions, it will most definitely affect your health. One of the things that play a big role in regulating the quality of your sleep is knowing what to eat before bed. Naturally, if you know what you should eat, then you’ll also know what to avoid eating before going to bed. Here are some types of food that you should never mix up with a healthy evening meal.

Dark Chocolate with High Amount of Cocoa

The biggest mistake you can make before going to bed is eating large quantities of dark chocolate. That is if you were actually planning to get some shut eye. Dark chocolate consists of large amounts of cocoa, over 80% in high-quality dark chocolate. This is the real deal, the real chocolate. Ever heard that drinking cocoa will get you higher on caffeine than drinking coffee? This is actually true as 100 g of cocoa has 240 mg of caffeine in it, while the same amount of coffee has about 40 mg of caffeine. Caffeine affects your blood pressure as well as central nervous system, increasing the level of alertness and focus, therefore intended for daily activities.

Fast Food- The Opposite of Soul Food

Compulsively stuffing junk food in your mouth as you sob while trying not to suffocate isn’t going to solve any of your problems. It may feel like it’s the right thing to do, but I promise that it won’t make things any better. To make matters worse, you’ll create even more problems in the process of delaying the effects of primary ones.

Due to high levels of cholesterol and fat that you ingest in a single cheeseburger, bacon, or double burger, you stimulate the production of acid in the stomach. This stomach liquid, composed of hydrochloric acid among other things, is used for dissolving proteins. And this isn’t the fastest nor easiest process in our body. So certain organs won’t be able to send signals to the brain saying that it’s time to call it for the day and induce sleep.

Coffee and Energy Drinks

It goes without saying that drinking coffee late at night, or any type of energy drink containing high amounts of taurine, isn’t beneficial for sleeping. The effects of caffeine on the body were explained in the above-mentioned example. But what about taurine? Taurine is essential for cardiovascular function, central nervous function, and it accounts for 0.1 % of your total body weight. By increasing the levels of taurine, you can create dysfunction problems throughout the whole system, making sleep impossible.

Photo via Visual Hunt

Photo via Visual Hunt

Ice Cream and Sugar

You are aware of how bad sugar is for your health, right? But let’s get something straight. There’s nothing wrong about ingesting sugar trough fruit and plants. Actually this the natural, right way, to do it. However, trying to get healthy amounts of sugar by eating ice cream and similar products, is equivalent to trying to quench your thirst by drinking gallons of soda. Next to increased amounts of sugar being linked with obesity and blood pressure regulation, they are also connected with hyperactivity. Which is the opposite of tranquility that is required for entering sleep.

Late Night Snacks

We’ve all been tempted to open that colossal bag of chips as we watch our favorite evening show. Those that know how it can disrupt our healthy sleep patterns stay away from late night snacks. Not only that it messes with your digestive system, but it’s also bad for your oral hygiene. Peanuts, for example, are extremely bad for your teeth. So for the sake of not fooling your stomach that you actually have something to digest, never eat snacks before bed. You’ll end up spending hours rolling in bed restlessly, hopelessly searching for a suitable horizontal pose to help induce dream.

And finally...

Although there are some foods that are beneficial to the process of inducing sleep, as you’ve learned, there are definitely some that are to be avoided. Sleep is extremely important for our health, so the least we can do is take care of our body by choosing our diet thus contributing to sleep quality.

Sarah Cummings is a freelance writer based in Santa Clara, CA (USA). She is a regular contributor to The Sleep Advisor.

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