How Does Food Influence Your Sleep?
Several factors influence your sleep – one of the most important being your food choices.
Indulging in a big cheezy pizza or a large glass of wine before bedtime might seem perfectly harmless but it affects your body more than you think it does.
Changes in your body will lead to changes in your sleep and not all of them are positive.
Common issues like heartburn, dyspepsia and sleeplessness often result due to eating habits you practice at night and even during the day.
1. Caffeine At Night
A late-night coffee might seem tempting but it can disrupt your sleep and keep you awake all night.
Caffeine is a stimulant that affects your body very easily and stays in your bloodstream for about 3-6 hours after it is consumed.
During sleep-deprived periods, people tend to consume larger amounts of caffeine which can have more potent effects and make it very hard for them to fall asleep.
That’s because it blocks adenosine receptors in your brain – adenosine is a chemical that promotes sleep.
While caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are not bad entirely, it is safer to consume them during the morning rather than at night.
If you want to drink later in the day, try to consume it at least 6 hours before you sleep.
2. Alcohol Before Bedtime
Most people argue that alcohol makes them feel drowsy unaware that it can affect sleep later in the night.
It may help you fall asleep faster but the effect quickly wears away once the alcohol eliminates from your bloodstream. Ultimately, it may only increase the number of times you wake up at night.
There are different stages in our sleep cycle – light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep (rapid eye movement).
Heavy drinking may increase your deep sleep duration but reduces REM sleep, making you lose out on restorative sleep time.
It can disrupt cognitive processes and cause other side effects like nighttime teeth grinding due to hyperactivation of your brain muscles.
Excessive alcohol consumption also doubles your chances of developing bruxism. To prevent this, cut back on your alcohol consumption and invest in a good night guard.
Smile Brilliant offers you the best night guard packages you can customize according to your grinding habits. They come equipped with an impression kit which you use to make your custom night guards.
While you don’t have to avoid alcohol altogether, refrain from drinking close to bedtime.
3. Overeating Before Sleep
Eating a big meal before bed can affect your sleep and increase the chances of indigestion and heartburn.
This is why experts recommend eating a few hours before your bedtime and keeping nighttime snacking at bay.
The heavier your meal is, the more time it will take for your body to digest the meal, especially if it involves fats and sugars.
Have your dinner at least 2-3 hours before you sleep and try to stick to foods that are high in fiber.
If you suffer from disturbed sleep at night and you have the habit of eating too close to bedtime, practicing a different eating time might help.
However make sure you don’t go to bed hungry because even a hungry, growling stomach can keep you awake at night.
4. Excessive Sweets, Fats & Spices
It is harder for your body to digest very spicy and fatty foods which is why they get digested slowly.
Consuming these kinds of foods before bedtime is only going to delay digestion and possibly affect your sleep cycle causing you to stay awake during the night.
If you like snacking at night, stick to low-fat, low-sugar snacks or go for healthier alternatives containing brown or cane sugar.
If you struggle with sleeplessness or wake up constantly at night, evaluate your food habits and fix them to see if it changes anything.
If that doesn’t work, it might be another issue. Consult a professional who can help you.