Munching on snacks late at night while watching your favorite movie is one of the easiest ways to have fun during the weekend. Though it may seem like a fun thing to do, it may not be as fun as it seems for your body in the long run.
6 Foods To Avoid Before Bed
1. High Carbohydrate Or Sugary Foods
A bowl of cereal or a bowl of ice cream may seem convenient for an awesome late night movie experience. Although all cereals may not be as bad, a high-sugar, low-fiber one can spoil your sleep. Cakes, cookies, ice creams, and other desserts that can increase your blood glucose levels should be avoided as these may keep you awake and disrupt your sleep cycle.
High blood glucose can cause thirst, frequent urination, headaches, and hunger, all of which can wake a person up during the night.
2. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods may become a craving, but it is not good to have spicy foods at night before bed. This can cause stomach irritation for a few. They may also cause heartburn and disturb your sleep.1 Spicy foods can raise your body temperature that can make it difficult to sleep.
3. Fatty Foods
Fatty foods like burgers, french fries, and pizzas should be avoided before bedtime. It has been proved that the intake of fatty foods will result in daytime sleepiness. It is suggested that fat may affect sleep by altering the circadian regulation of hormonal, central nervous, and metabolic systems.2 Fatty foods are high in calories and take time for your stomach to digest the food. Thus, it is best to avoid these before bed.
Sources of caffeine include coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. Caffeine is a type of drug that promotes alertness. Any food containing caffeine should be avoided before going to bed because this may keep you alert, thereby disturbing your sleep. The results of a certain study suggest that 400 mg of caffeine taken 0, 3, or even 6 hours prior to bedtime significantly disrupts sleep. Even at 6 hours, caffeine reduced sleep by more than 1 hour. This degree of sleep loss, if experienced over multiple nights, may have detrimental effects on daytime function.3
Sodas should also be avoided as they do contain caffeine and can cause acidity in the stomach. They also contain insane amounts of sugar that may disturb sleep.
Chocolates are not only sources of sugar and fat, they also contain caffeine. If coffee can keep most of us up at night, then chocolate craving during the night is not a healthy habit. It may disrupt your sleep.4
Chocolate also contains a component called theobromine which may add to the appeal of chocolates. Theobromine, when consumed in high doses, is known to increase the heart rate. Theobromine intake at normal ranges may add to the positive effects of chocolates; however, the higher intakes can result in negative effects.5
Beer, wine, or spirits can make an individual feel drowsy. However, alcohol contributes to poor sleep quality. Intake of alcohol at night does a lot to our body than we know.6
- Alcohol disturbs the slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity. Delta activity is important for memory formation and learning. It also disturbs the alpha activity of the brain. Alpha activity does its work when you are resting quietly. Disturbing the delta and alpha activities may inhibit restorative sleep.
- Alcohol interrupts your circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings.
- Another reason why alcohol contributes to poor sleep quality is because it blocks the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When you enter REM sleep, you are more likely to dream, most muscles in the body become paralyzed, and your eyes move back and forth behind the eyelids.
- Alcohol causes the whole body to relax, including the throat, which makes you prone to snoring and sleep apnea.
- Alcohol also causes you to make frequent bathroom trips, interrupting your normal sleep pattern.
Make it a habit to have healthy midnight snacks and not midnight meals. In addition, avoiding the mentioned foods can contribute to a healthy midnight time.
|↑1||Sleep and Health. UCLA Health.|
|↑2||Cao, Yingting, Gary Wittert, Anne W. Taylor, Robert Adams, and Zumin Shi. “Associations between Macronutrient Intake and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea as Well as Self-Reported Sleep Symptoms: Results from a Cohort of Community Dwelling Australian Men.” Nutrients 8, no. 4 (2016): 207.|
|↑3||Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” J Clin Sleep Med 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195-1200.|
|↑4||Food And Sleep-Related Problems. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑5||Baggott, Matthew J., Emma Childs, Amy B. Hart, Eveline De Bruin, Abraham A. Palmer, Joy E. Wilkinson, and Harriet De Wit. “Psychopharmacology of theobromine in healthy volunteers.” Psychopharmacology 228, no. 1 (2013): 109-118.|
|↑6||How Alcohol Affects The Quality—And Quantity—Of Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|