Did the lockdown, work from home and everything in between during the pandemic, affect our sleep schedule? The GOQii IndiaFit Report found that there was a drop in the overall sleeping hours we experienced. From an average of 7.6 hours of sleep in 2019, we dropped to 6.8 hours in 2022. This change has led to lots of disturbed sleep or even worse – insomnia.
Lack of quality sleep can contribute to issues such as indigestion, acidity and even mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Apart from practices like meditation, mindfulness, exercise and deep breathing techniques, even what you eat can impact your sleep. So if you’re aiming for a good night’s rest but are unable to achieve it, here are some eating habits you should avoid for a good night’s rest!
Avoid These 5 Eating Habits Before You Sleep
- Junk Food: Pizza, burgers and fries, etc. have refined flours and simple sugars which take longer to digest, disturbing your digestive system at night causing disrupted sleep. Because of their high sodium count, they can leave you feeling bloated, causing sleep-stealing discomfort. Also, you might feel thirstier after consuming junk food. Foods high in calories are digested slowly and may cause stomach upset, cramping, bloating or heartburn if eaten before bed.
- Sugars: Sugary food gives you an extra dose of unwanted energy, which is not needed at night. When you eat a lot of sugar before bed, your blood sugar climbs high and then falls rapidly as your body releases hormones to bring the levels under control. This swing in hormones and blood sugar levels impairs sleep. The other reason to avoid starchy or sugary food is it gives you immense energy in a very short period making the body highly active.
- Spicy food: Eating items like chillies before bedtime can cause indigestion which makes it difficult to sleep well. It is speculated that this may be due to capsaicin, an active ingredient in chili peppers, affecting sleep via changes in body temperature. Eating spicy food too close to bed causes acidity and worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some studies have claimed that spicy food can trigger brain waves that cause nightmares and you end up tossing and turning all night. So it might not be a good idea to gorge on to those peri-peri fries for dinner.
- Caffeine: It is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and alertness – the opposite effect you want when you’re trying to sleep. The role of caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa) is to make a drowsy soul active and attentive. Caffeine delays and shortens the sleeping duration of individuals. Dark chocolate has polyphenol, but it’s also a surprising source of caffeine. 20gm dark chocolate has about a quarter of the caffeine as a cup of coffee, and about half the caffeine as a cup of green or black tea. It takes 6-10 hours to eliminate caffeine, which means enjoy a dark chocolate treat at around 4 pm if you plan to sleep at 10 pm.
- Alcohol: It suppresses melatonin – the hormone that regulates your internal clock and thus disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body negatively, the reason you wake up in the middle of your sleep. Alcohol also makes you dehydrated and often thirsty in the middle of the night with frequent washroom trips. It interferes with the body’s other sleep-wake regulator – its internal sleep drive. Alcohol increases levels of adenosine, a chemical that regulates sleep by rising naturally in the body. It’s adenosine-boosting effects make you sleep at times other than your natural timings, thus disturbing your natural sleep-wake cycle.
If this article helped you catch up on your much needed hours of rest, let us know in the comments below! You can learn more about sleep here or you can discuss this topic further with a GOQii Coach by subscribing for Personalised Health Coaching here.