There are foods that cause insomnia, so make sure you avoid them. While there are many external stimulates in your environment, there are also stimulants that affect your body from the inside. Impacting the way you feel, think, and relax, these products contain caffeine, sugar, and chemicals. While you don’t need to completely remove these items from your diet, you do need to pay attention and be sure not to ingest them after dinnertime to avoid difficulty falling asleep.
- Caffeinated beverages. Caffeine wakes up your body and mind by raising your heart rate. Since it has this effect, it is considered a stimulant. Coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate beverages contain caffeine. Have your last caffeinated beverage at least 3-4 hours prior to bedtime to avoid having difficulty sleeping.
- Chocolate. Chocolate has caffeine and sugar, both of which are stimulants that will keep you from having a restful night’s sleep. Do not have chocolate for 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.
- Alcohol. While alcoholic beverages might make you feel tired and help you fall asleep, the sleep is typically not restful. For example, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night feeling dehydrated, then have trouble falling back to sleep. As with any other medication that can become addictive, you do not want to create a nightly dependency on alcohol to fall asleep at night.
- Smoking. Tobacco contains nicotine which is a stimulant. Your body’s nicotine dependency can cause your body to wake when the level of nicotine in your blood becomes low. Try to not to smoke in the hours before bedtime.
Your diet impacts your ability to fall asleep and maintain sleep at night. By eating a healthy diet, low in processed foods, sugar, fat, and preservatives, you may find that you can stop the cycle of insomnia and improve your overall health.
What to eat when you can’t sleep?
Consider these guidelines for a healthy sleep diet:
- Follow the recommended daily guidelines for fruits and vegetables.
- Increase the complex carbohydrates in your diet.
- Eat protein that is low in fat, and consider meat substitutes like tofu or veggie burgers.
- Avoid spicy and heavy foods.
- If you need a snack before bed, make it low in fat and sugar.
- Eat you last meal four or more hours before bedtime.
- Try not to overeat at your nighttime meal because you might feel drowsy immediately after eating. Alternatively, be sure to eat enough so that you are not ravenous at bedtime.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. A well hydrated body won’t wake up in the night because of dehydration. Drink eight glasses, equivalent to 2 liters of water per day.
Watch yourself for food allergies that might be subtly causing you sleep disturbances. Common food allergies that might affect your sleep patterns are wheat, dairy products, corn and chocolate.
A well-balanced, wholesome diet will help you be a healthier person overall. General health is a huge factor in your ability to fall asleep naturally. If your daily intake of food is healthy, your body and mind will be healthy and well-nourished, helping you sleep deeply without waking in the night.