Trying to get in your full eight hours of sleep each night might seem like a simple process of cutting out caffeine and trying to get to bed earlier. But committing to getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t just start in the few hours before bed. For the best possible sleep, your body needs to only be taking in foods and vitamins that will help aid in relaxation and minimize stress. Now, you might be wondering how foods can have such a huge effect on how much rest you get, and on the quality of that rest. The truth is that certain foods are simply bad for digestion, stress, and overall health, no matter how early in the day you’re eating them. Here are a few foods to avoid at all costs if you want to get a deeper, better sleep each night.
If you already have trouble sleeping, you may already know that drinking alcohol before bed is a surefire way to hurt your sleep patterns and your deep REM sleep stage. While drinking alcohol is a great way to make your body fall asleep quickly, it’s not great for helping you stay asleep. Not only is an alcohol like wine overly acidic, it’s likely to wake you up at several points in the night to use the bathroom. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough slow-wave sleep, skip the glass of wine at dinner.
Chocolate feels like a soothing after-dinner treat, however, if you make a habit of eating it before bed, it can end up having some bad effects on your sleep cycle. While milk chocolate contains higher amounts of sugar, which is bad for sleep in general, dark chocolate is known to contain trace amounts of caffeine. If you’re serious about getting a better night’s sleep, best to skip that chocolate-based dessert and go straight for a glass of milk instead.
Heavily Spiced Foods
Spicy foods like hot peppers, curries, or salsa, aren’t always the easiest to digest. When it comes to your body’s ability to metabolize supremely spicy foods, it can actually have the effect of speeding up and causing heartburn, which naturally isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. Eating overly spicy foods can also raise your internal temperature, making it harder to fall asleep in the first place.
Craving a slice? If you’re already having trouble sleeping, it might be a good idea to slow down on your pizza consumption, especially before bed. Fatty foods, in general, should be avoided before sleep, since they take a lot out of your body in terms of metabolism. When your body is trying to digest a ton of cheese and carbs, it’s not focusing on getting the best restorative sleep that it possibly can. In addition, the acid in the tomato sauce can lead to acid reflux or heartburn, which is likely to wake you up in the middle of the night.
Green tea might feel like a soothing, pre-bed ritual, in addition to peppermint tea. However, both these teas have deceptive properties that prevent you from getting the rest you need. While green tea usually has rather high caffeine content, peppermint tea is actually a heartburn inducer. If you’re drinking for the calming feeling rather than the taste, consider breathing in some mint essential oil instead. If you want to play it safe and still get in a soothing cup of tea before bed, make it something a bit less controversial, like valerian tea or chamomile.