Sleep requirements vary from one individual to another but in general most healthy adults need at least eight hours of sleep each night to function at their best.
Food gives us energy to function throughout the day but did you know that food also has an effect on how we sleep? What you eat for dinner can help you fall off to sleep or can keep you awake for hours.
Nutritionist Pooja says “It is important to be cautious to what you eat during the day especially at night, if you want to sleep well at night. What you choose to eat can affect the quality of your sleep.”
Studies suggest that eating foods that are high in tryptophan before bedtime can help you sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your brain uses to create serotonin which helps to regulate your sleep cycle.
Team Medimanage provides tips on the best food that offers restful sleep at night and foods that disrupt the sleep cycle.
Here are foods that interrupt with your sleep.
Caffeine found in tea, coffee, and chocolates among other foods can cause sleep disturbance many hours after drinking it. In some individuals even moderate amount of caffeine can cause disruption of the sleep cycle. Pooja explains, “Caffeine is a stimulant that works by blocking the action of hormones in the brain that makes us feel sleepy. A strong dose of caffeine can stimulate the mind for a short time, and then cause an alertness crash as the effect wears off.”
“The effects of caffeine last from 6 to 8 hours. For good sleep, you should avoid taking caffeine foods four to six hours before bedtime” adds Nutritionist Patricia Sadri.
Rich and heavy food takes time to digest and may keep you away from sleep. Over eating or eating too close to bedtime can leave you bloated and give you indigestion. Studies suggest that people who eat high fat food gain weight easily and also experience a sleep disturbance.
Patricia says, “Heavy food or spicy food are hard to digest and a common cause of sleep deprivation. Eating such foods for lunch is a better option than dinner so that it does not interrupt with your sleep cycle.”
Some people use alcohol as a key to unwind after a long day at work and to sleep better. Pooja says, “Alcohol may help you to relax and fall asleep in the short term, but it can disrupt sleep over the course of the night. It also keeps you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, which may cause you to wake up still feeling tired despite having spent an adequate amount of time in bed. Alcohol causes to release adrenalin and also impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain and disrupts the sleep.”
Avoid eating high protein food for dinner as protein takes longer to digest and interferes with sleep. Nutritionist says, "Eating foods high in proteins block the synthesis of serotonin, makes us more alert and disrupts our sleep."
Limit your fluid intake before hitting the bed to get relaxing sleep. Drinking too much fluid before bedtime can increase the number of trips to the bathroom and interrupt your sleep cycle.
Sugary foods are often blamed for insomnia. Studies suggest that sugar can give an energy boost and can make you make more alert and disrupt the sleeping pattern