Did you know that eating and sleeping go hand in hand? They are the two things that keep us alive.
Both the quantity and quality of your sleep and the foods you eat can have an impact on both your sleep and your eating choices.
In order to ensure that your sleep is as restful as possible, it is recommended to choose foods that promote sleep.
After all, 7.5 million Britons get less than five hours of sleep per night, according to recent studies, and nearly one in five adults in the UK, according to Mental Health UK, aren't getting enough sleep.
It's significantly less than the seven to nine hours of sleep per night that are advised, so it could be a good idea to focus on diet to offer ourselves the greatest opportunity at getting a restful night's sleep.
But what must you keep away from before going to bed?
Dr. Greg Potter is a sleep expert and consultant for health and performance.
He exposes his dietary sleep saboteurs, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or disturb our sleep all night long.
Rotate the taxi cab
Dr Potter advises limiting your alcohol consumption as early in the day, which may not be the best news if you enjoy a glass of wine with supper.
Sorry to break the bad news, but drinking interferes with sleep in a number of ways.
Alcohol alters the way you sleep, fragmenting it in the second half of the night and making it harder for you to obtain enough REM sleep, which is essential for maintaining emotional control and stimulating creativity.
“As a diuretic, alcohol increases urination, which could cause you to wake up more frequently at night,” he continues.
Alcohol can make breathing issues associated with sleep, like snoring and sleep apnea, worse because it relaxes muscles.
According to Dr. Potter, “I drink alcohol about once a week on average, and when I do, I either try to finish it early or accept that even though drinking late may cause me to have a worse night's sleep that night, it won't be a big deal if my sleep is good the rest of the time.”
Skip the chocolate
Dr. Potter advises avoiding coffee at least nine hours before bed.
“You can also try substituting decaffeinated versions of some coffee and tea.
“The majority of us regularly drink coffee, tea, and chocolate, which all contain significant amounts of caffeine.
“These items can be tasty, and some of them offer significant health advantages, but you should be careful while consuming them.
“One reason [to be conscious] is that adenosine, a hormone that promotes sleep, builds up in your brain more and more the longer you've been awake.
“Caffeine prevents this chemical's interaction with its receptors, temporarily lowering drowsiness.
“This can be useful, for example, when driving after getting too little sleep.
But if you eat coffee too late in the day, it can also make it harder for you to fall asleep, make your sleep lighter, and shorten it.
Try several things to see what works best for you.
Watch out for FODMAP foods
Foods known as FODMAPs are frequently difficult for certain people to digest.
It's advisable to avoid consuming certain foods just before bed if you know they make you feel bloated and gassy or otherwise difficult to digest.
According to Dr. Potter, frequent offenders include foods that are fatty, spicy, and high in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS), which include lactose in milk and fibres found in many plants including onions, leeks, lentils, and more.
early in the day, indulge in pizza.
Despite the fact that it is typically eaten in the evening, if you want to get a good night's sleep, you may have to give up your love of pizza for supper.
“If you consume ultra-processed meals, such as fast restaurant takeout and candy, do it in the morning.
In moderation, it's acceptable to eat items like pizza, burgers, chips, and ice cream, but it's also typically true that your body can process food more efficiently earlier in the waking day, according to Dr. Potter.
Therefore, it is generally preferable to celebrate anything with a lot of wonderful but highly processed meals and beverages at lunch rather than dinner.
Eating too many nutritious foods can interfere with sleep
You might believe that eating a substantial, hearty meal before bed will do your sleep a world of good.
However, Dr Potter advises against eating too much at dinner.
Even if you eat healthy meals like oily fish, nuts, veggies, and fruits, the quantity of your final meal and the amount of fluid you take late in the day can have a significant impact on how well you sleep.
“Generally speaking, it's best to go to bed neither famished nor full.”
What to eat before bed, ideally…
According to Dr. Potter, some foods have trace levels of compounds that help people fall asleep.
For instance, melatonin, a hormone that mildly promotes sleep, is found in numerous plants, such as cherries, tomatoes, pistachio nuts, and others.
Dr. Potter cautions about eating that if you consistently undereat, you'll likely sleep less than you would if you ate enough.
“At the extreme, anorexics sleep significantly less than the typical person and their sleep is also fragmented.
“Evolution undoubtedly played a role in this. When food was scarce, it would have been adaptive for our ancestors to sleep less since it would give them more awake time to go out and hunt and gather food.
The time you eat is equally crucial…
If you eat a large meal right before bed, you can find it difficult to fall asleep and, if you're prone to these problems, you might experience problems like acid reflux.
According to Dr. Potters, it's reasonable to try to complete any calorie-containing meal or drink at least three hours before going to bed if you're like most people.
After this period, it's okay to sip on modest amounts of sugar-free soft beverages or uncaffeinated herbal teas.
According to Dr. Potter, the three-hour rule was created because, “in part because a couple of hours before you fall asleep at night your brain starts producing a substantial amount of the hormone melatonin,” your ability to control your blood sugar after eating tends to be lower shortly before bed than it is earlier in the day.
Our sleep hormone, melatonin, “tells cells all over your body that it's nighttime.”
“This lessens the amount of insulin, your pancreas' hormone that clears sugar, that it releases.
The significance of this is that many elements of health, including the health of your pancreas and brain, depend on blood sugar regulation.