Trouble sleeping? It may be your diet at fault if you fall asleep and wake up several times during the night. Many of us assume that an overactive mind is causing sleeplessness, but that may not be the case.
Did you know that certain foods, besides the obvious culprit caffeine, can keep you from a peaceful night’s sleep? Here are five culprits that may cause wakefulness at night.
1. Foods High in Fat
You probably did not know that a high saturated-fat diet, low in fiber, may lead to lighter sleep. You’ll be waking up more at night. If you eat large amounts of food high in saturated fats, it can affect your deeper sleep as well as the overall quality of your sleep. Making alertness more difficult during the day, this non-REM sleep happens earlier in your sleep cycle.
2. Caffeine-rich Foods and Chocolate
Hot chocolate may seem like a great choice to catch some Z’s. However, it contains caffeine, the enemy of sleep. Sweet, fluffy marshmallows add to the anti-sleep mix, as they are loaded with sugar. This brings us to…
3. Sugar-loaded Desserts
Refined carbohydrates and sugar may cause anxiety and insomnia. They can also trigger late-night cravings. Volunteers in a research study who ate more sugar spent less time in slow-wave sleep, essential for healing and immune function; this became evident in these controlled studies. People also took longer to fall asleep and, once asleep, were more restless and frequently awoke during the night.
4. Alcohol Nightcaps
Sometimes alcohol is taken to induce drowsiness. On the other hand, according to studies, alcohol causes restless sleep. This is because the calming effects dissipate after a few hours. Studies show that after three nights of drinking before bedtime, the body becomes more resistant to the sleep-inducing effects of the nightcap.
5. Spicy Foods
Highly acidic food that can initiate heartburn is commonly a cause of interrupted sleep. Spicy dishes, such as those made with tomato products, can also be the culprit. Citrus fruits, marinated dishes, such as olives and pickles, and dairy products may be the cause of heartburn in some people, thus bringing on sleeplessness.
An empty stomach can make insomnia worse. A healthy light snack, such as a banana with almond butter, or fruits, such as kiwi or tart cherries, can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Also healthier in general, a diet rich in fiber, associated with deeper sleep, may lead to less wakefulness at night. Sleepwalkers might need to see a doctor. In fact, visit your doctor if you have chronic sleep problems. You may want to know the underlying cause. Meanwhile, making some dietary changes may help.