Tags: Health Topics | food | bedtime

6 Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime

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By    |   Thursday, 12 November 2020 09:40 AM

Statistics show that an epidemic of sleeplessness is on the rise. According to The Good Body, a web site dedicated to research and awareness of pain management and sleep optimization, one in four Americans develops insomnia each year — that’s 60 million of us. 

For folks over the age of 60, that jumps to nearly 50 percent who suffer from this most common form of sleep disorder that costs our country $63 billion annually from lost productivity. Insomnia is also one of the major contributing factors to deaths in car accidents.

According to The Sleep Health Foundation, sleep is as important to our well-being as a healthy diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep can also induce or make feelings of anxiety and stress seem worse. The Sleep Health Foundation points out that a good night’s sleep helps fight off infection. “When sleep is of poor quality it can impair our immune response. In addition, poor sleep might result in ‘flare-ups’ of other chronic illnesses,” their experts point out.

Neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Helene Emsellem, M.D., director of The Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Md., tells Newsmax  that with the demands of modern day living, especially during the current pandemic, and increased use of technology, many folks experience symptoms of insomnia, typically waking up after four hours and unable to get back to sleep.

“We are also eating dinner later and unless you are in Paris preparing to dance until midnight, you need to allow at least two to three hours after your last meal before going to bed,” the author of “Snooze…or Lose!” reveals. “And it’s important to know your body and how it reacts to food. Eating certain foods before bedtime may trigger acid reflux or other physical reactions that wreak havoc with the sleep cycle.”

Here are some common foods to avoid:

  1. Alcohol. While a couple glasses of wine may relax you, the cutoff point should be 8 p.m. says Emsellem. Experts warn that alcohol disturbs the REM cycle of sleep, the deep restorative sleep where our short-term memory is processed, so you are more likely to awaken during the second half of the night.
  2. Caffeine. Allow six hours between drinking a caffeinated beverage or having chocolate if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine at bedtime, according to the Food Network. That is because caffeine blocks the sleep-inducing chemical adenosine, preventing you from getting your recommended amount of sleep. Some high-end chocolate bars contain as much as 26 milligrams of caffeine, almost as much as the amount in 12 ounces of caffeinated beverages.
  3. Spicy foods. These foods can provoke acid reflux and cause sleeplessness. Spicy foods can also raise your body temperature, causing you discomfort.
  4. Sugar. Giving into that sugar craving after 9 p.m. can give you a quick energy boost and delay your sleep. “Eating sugar and carbs at night is a bad move especially for those who are prediabetic or diabetic,” says Emsellem. Not only does sugar lead to poor sleep, it also affects calorie consumption the next day. When you do not get enough sleep, your body creates more of the hormone ghrelin which stimulates your appetite and cravings for fat and sugar.
  5. Pizza. The spicy tomato sauce, garlic, onions, and other condiments lead to a lot of acid which can provoke arousals during the night. Not only can acidic foods leave you with indigestion, they may also move quickly through the digestive system, causing frequent bathroom breaks. Also, studies show that cheesy toppings can give you nightmares.
  6. Citrus fruits. Citrus is a natural diuretic that will make you urinate more frequently, says Rebecca Lewis, MS, RDN, the head dietitian at HelloFresh, a healthy meal delivery service. You will be up several times during the night running to the bathroom. Drinking tea may also have the same effect, notes Emsellem. “You have to know your own bladder!”

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Statistics show that an epidemic of sleeplessness is on the rise. According to The Good Body, a web site dedicated to research and awareness of pain management and sleep optimization, one in four...
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Thursday, 12 November 2020 09:40 AM
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