Bad night’s sleep? It could be that pre-bedtime snack! [Photo: Rex Features]
How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up feeling peachy keen to crack on with the week or are your chugging the coffee like it’s going out of fashion and wondering if your boss would notice if you disappeared under your desk for a disco nap?
If it’s the latter, you’re totally not alone because according to a recent study almost half of British women say they’re not getting enough sleep and don’t feel well-rested when they wake up *yawns*
But could that cheese binge you had right before bed be the culprit? Pre-bedtime snackers take note, the types of food you eat before hitting the sack can have a massive affect on the quality of shut-eye you get.
According to science eating anything close to bedtime increases the activity of your metabolism, which causes your brain to stay active, making it more likely for vivid dreams to occur and less likely you’ll wake up feeling fine and dandy.
“The nutrients in food affect many things in the body, such as energy levels, mood and sleep quality,” explains nutritionist and yoga teacher Julie Montagu.
With that in mind we’ve put together our avoid-list of foods to skip if you desperately need a good night’s snooze….
That late night cheese binge could be affecting your shut eye [Photo: pixabay.com via Pexels]
Ok so you might have heard the old wives tale that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares, but turns out there’s something in it. “There is much speculation, and actually some solid research, to suggest that eating dairy products in the hours leading up to bedtime can cause bad or unusual dreams. Cheese and milk are thought to be the biggest culprits within this group,” explains Julie Montagu. “Cheese contains tryptophan - an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that helps to keep the mood stabilised. So enjoying a dose of cheese right before bed could contribute to heightened levels of serotonin in the body, which could influence how prominently you dream.” And therefore how well you sleep.
Cured and processed meats
Yeah, you might want to stop yourself raiding the fridge for cold cuts pre-bedtime. “Sausages, salami, bacon, hot dogs, corned beef are very high in Tyramine, an amino acid that regulates blood pressure,” explains clinical nutritionist, Kamilla Schaffner, from My London Nutritionist. “Foods high in Tyramine are nutritionally known to disrupt normal sleeping patterns as well as the central nervous system in general, which may lead to increased episodes of nightmares, disturbing dreams or persistent migraines.”
Curry = crap night’s sleep [Photo: Rex Features]
There’s a reason your restlessness ramps up a notch after a Friday night takeaway. And it’s all to do with the spiciness of your food. One study, in Australia, found that young men who poured Tobasco sauce and mustard on/in their dinner found it more difficult to get to sleep, and were in a much lighter state than those who had a blander dinner. “The body has to work a bit harder than usual to digest seriously spicy foods,” explains Julie Montagu. “This disruption to the digestive system could impact the quality of sleep that you enjoy.”
Terrible for your breath, even worse for your zzzeds. “Foods that are fermented or pickled in any way – sauerkraut, kimchee, tofu or pickles, soy sauce, miso and miso-containing products – can induce bad dreams when eaten at night,” explains Kamilla Schaffner. And bad dreams are so not the sleep goals.
A night on the sauce could be to blame for a bad night’s rest [Photo: unsplash.com via Pexels]
Ever wondered why a night on the tiles = crap night’s sleep? According to experts drinking alcohol before bed can delay drifting off and can also reduce the quality of sleep you have, not to mention the amount you sleep.
“Alcoholic beverages such as beer, red wine, sherry and liqueurs are known to induce nightmares due to their fermentation process, especially when consumed in excess,” says Kamilla Schaffner.
Chocolate can be disastrous for sleep *sobs* [Photo: kaboompics.com via Pexels]
Noooooo! “Eating any food late at night that has a high fat content is going to cause some degree of indigestion. Indigestion can cause you to have a poor quality of sleep as you are likely to wake often,” explains Julie Montagu. You’re breaking our hearts here.
So how do we make sure we get a good night’s rest? “The best way that I can suggest to avoid disturbed sleep is to not eat anything in the two to three hours before you go to bed,” advises Julie Montagu. “This gives your digestive system a chance to catch up and you are more likely to experience an undisturbed sleep until morning.”