If you’re having insomnia or trouble falling asleep, you’re definitely not alone. Approximately, half of adults in the US experience one or more symptoms of insomnia at any given time.
There are many factors that are linked to insomnia, such as stress, depression, medical issues, use of certain drugs or medications, and environmental factors.
The foods we eat can also interfere with our sleep at night, so it is important to know what foods to avoid when we are suffering from insomnia.
Below is a list of 10 foods that can cause insomnia. Try to avoid them around bedtime to get a full night sleep.
1. Caffeinated drinks
Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, acts as a stimulant by activating the central nervous system. It can make you feel more alert and less sleepy.
According to MedlinePlus, the effects of caffeine on the body may begin within one hour of ingesting it and last up to six hours. So be sure to avoid it for at least that long before bedtime.
Alcohol can be effective in helping you fall asleep faster. However, studies have shown that while alcohol might help people to fall asleep faster, it disrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is the most restorative part of sleep.
When alcohol disrupts this phase of the sleep cycle, it affects all of these functions, resulting in you feeling tired in the morning.
3. Spicy foods
Spicy foods may not only leave your mouth feeling hot, but they can also disrupt your sleep.
Studies have found that eating spicy food raise core body temperature, increases blood flow and gets your heart pumping. While these are good things during the day, they are not so desirable at night.
Moreover, foods that are spicy or peppery can result in an upset stomach and a restless night. So, stay away from them late in the day if you want to you get a good night’s sleep.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is another food that can trigger insomnia due to its caffeine content. Although its caffeine content is lower than that of coffee, it is still enough to be significant for many people.
Chocolate bars have varying amounts of caffeine, but an average one-ounce piece of dark chocolate contains 10–20 milligrams of caffeine. Generally, the darker the chocolate the more of a buzz it’ll give.
5. High protein foods
High protein foods digest slowly and this may interfere with REM sleep if eaten close to bedtime.
Moreover, research shows that eating foods in high protein before bed can lead to sleep disorders. Experts believe it’s because a protein-rich meals contributes to less tryptophan, the amino acid which is responsible for producing a calming hormone called serotonin. Low serotonin levels are believed to be linked to insomnia.
6. Fatty foods
Like high protein foods, fatty foods take longer to digest, and are extremely inflammatory to the digestive system, which interferes with sleep.
Furthermore, they can cause bloating and indigestion that interferes with your normal sleep cycle. So, enjoy that Pizza, French fries, or fried chicken, at lunch or at an early dinner, not as your bedtime snack.
7. High fiber foods
However, eating these high-fiber foods too close to bedtime can affect your sleep as your body will be digesting the foods and may cause you to have gas during the night.
8. Sugary foods
Sugary foods, like cakes, cookies or other desserts, can raise blood-sugar levels. This can cause your energy levels to spike which, in turn keep you energetic. Also, foods high in sugar contribute to irregular sleeping patterns if consumed late at night.
Avoid drinking too much fluids at bedtime as this increases bathroom visits during sleeping time; rather, focus on drinking plenty of water during the day and cut back within two hours of bedtime. Many people have difficulty falling back to sleep after waking up, which may disturb the quality of sleep.
Panax ginseng has been reported to cause insomnia when taken in high doses. Some evidences also suggest that if the herb is taken along with caffeine may worsen the condition. So don’t take this herb if you’re suffering from insomnia.