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Optimize your sleep: 7 foods to avoid at night for sound slumber

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy, high-fat, and large meals before bedtime for sound sleep. Opt for sleep-friendly snacks like complex carbs, dairy, bananas, herbal tea, and nuts. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene for better sleep quality

Optimize your sleep: 7 foods to avoid at night for sound slumber ATG EAI
First Published Sep 9, 2023, 9:53 PM IST

Eating the wrong foods before bedtime can disrupt your sleep and lead to a restless night. To promote sound sleep, it's best to avoid the following foods and beverages in the hours leading up to bedtime:

  1. Caffeine: This includes coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some sodas. Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake and alert, so it's best to avoid it for several hours before bedtime.

  2. Alcohol: While alcohol may make you feel drowsy initially, it can disrupt your sleep cycle, leading to more frequent awakenings during the night. It's best to limit alcohol intake, especially in the evening.

  3. Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid foods that are particularly spicy before bedtime.

  4. High-Fat Foods: High-fat meals can take longer to digest, potentially causing discomfort and indigestion. This can interfere with your ability to relax and fall asleep peacefully.

  5. Heavy or Large Meals: Eating large or heavy meals close to bedtime can lead to discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep comfortably. Aim to finish your last meal at least two to three hours before bedtime.

  6. Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugary foods and drinks can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, potentially waking you up during the night when your blood sugar drops. Avoid sugary snacks or desserts in the evening.

  7. Foods with High Water Content: Foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumber, can increase the likelihood of waking up to use the bathroom during the night. Try to limit your intake of such foods in the evening.

Instead of the foods mentioned above, consider opting for sleep-friendly snacks if you're hungry before bedtime. Foods that promote sleep include:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Foods like whole-grain crackers, oatmeal, or a small serving of whole-grain cereal can help promote sleep by increasing the availability of tryptophan, a precursor to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

  • Dairy Products: Dairy products like milk and yogurt contain tryptophan, which can help you relax and fall asleep.

  • Bananas: Bananas are a good source of magnesium and potassium, which can relax muscles and aid in sleep.

  • Herbal Tea: Certain herbal teas, like chamomile and valerian root tea, have calming properties that can promote sleep.

  • Nuts: A small handful of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios, can provide a combination of healthy fats, protein, and magnesium, which can be sleep-supportive.

Remember that individual responses to foods can vary, so it's a good idea to pay attention to how your body reacts to different foods and adjust your evening eating habits accordingly to improve your sleep quality. Additionally, it's essential to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene for overall better sleep.

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