Five foods to avoid come bedtime
Having trouble nodding off? Sedating yourself with horse-tranquilliser sleeping tablets isn’t the only answer. Start by avoid these five foods.
Bars, chocolate biscuits and even the supposedly beneficial drinking chocolate are all bad news come bedtime. Why? Because chocolate contains caffeine as well as a stimulating amino acid called tyrosine.
What’s worse is that people become more sensitive to the chemicals the older they get so even the odd Hobnob can wind up being enough to keep you awake all hours.
2. Preserved meat
Bacon, ham, sausages as well as any type of salami or smoked meat are bad news and should be avoided like the plague come bed-time. They also contain high levels of another amino acid tyramine which causes the brain to release a stimulant called norepinephrine. This, in turn, can leave you feeling straight up wired if you eat enough ham sandwiches before getting the head down.
Everyone knows that coffee contains caffeine which can mess around with your sleep. However, what most people don’t know is that the caffeine can still be knocking around inside your body for up to 12 hours. That means the 11am cup you use to wash down your Kit-Kat can still be in your system come bed time. In short, coffee is not your friend.
This might seem like a statement of the obvious but Red Bull and other energy drinks are also high in caffeine as well as amino acid taurine. However, they are capable of boosting alertness and adrenaline to such a degree that they can have effects for many hours. In fact, studies have proved that downing energy drinks even at lunch time can disrupt your sleep cycle.
4. Spicy food
Many people are not quite as capable of dealing with spicy food as they think they are and chili-laced dishes can trigger a range of digestive disturbances such as heartburn, acid reflux and other problems which in turn can mess with your ability to get some shut-eye.
Early in the day is generally going to be fine, but downing a curry late on is asking for trouble.
Having a beer shortly before bed may have the effect of making you drowsy, but as the night wares on, it can have a negative effect on your sleep. The initial sleepiness it gives you soon wears off and the demon drink actively prevents you from getting to the point of deep sleep.
Also, alcohol both dehydrates you and acts as a diuretic (makes you want to urinate) which means you’re more likely to wake up needing to go to in search of the bathroom or a glass of water.