Unfortunately, most of us in the UK don’t get enough sleep.
Between stress, tricky working hours, late-night scrolling sessions, and straight-up insomnia, there are plenty of reasons why your nighttime rest might not feel as fulfilling as it should.
But Benenden Health recently shared that some foods could be to blame for your sleepless nights, too.
“If you’ve tried every sleep remedy under the sun and you’re tired of struggling to sleep through the night, it could be because you’re eating the wrong foods before bed,” nurse practitioner Cheryl Lythgoe shared.
After all, as the South Warwickshire NHS Trust points out, the later you eat, the harder your digestive system has to work while you’re sleeping. This process can disturb your Zzzs, making it hard to stay asleep.
Here, Lythgoe shares some of the worst foods for sleep – and why they’re so problematic.
I know, I know, it’s tempting to chow down on your fave choc at night. But the pros say that the combination of sugar and caffeine (yes, there’s caffeine in chocolate – especially dark chocolate) can keep you up later than you probably want to.
No, not because it causes bad dreams – experts advise against eating the delicious dairy staple before you sleep because it contains a substance called tyramine, which helps us feel alert.
3. Spicy food
The problem here is a chemical called capsaicin, which is where chillies gets their punchy flavour. Spice can disturb your sleep by messing up your body’s temperature regulation, so stick to the mild stuff before bed.
4. Ice cream
Or cakes, or biscuits, or gummy sweets ― basically, the problem here is sugar.
Too much of the sweet stuff can cause nighttime restlessness, and might even cause you to wake up multiple times in the wee hours.
I regret to inform you that your fave crisps more than likely have what experts would call “wayyyy too much salt.”
Not only that, but too much salt before bed can leave you feeling groggy in the morning, too.
OK, so what should I eat?
If you get peckish at night, Lythgoe suggests trying more natural foods.
“You may love night-time snacks like chocolate, ice cream or crisps, but they could be just the thing stopping you from getting those all-important eight hours,” she said.
“Instead, if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, natural foods like cherries or bananas are excellent for promoting good sleep and should satisfy that sweet craving.”
She adds that, in general, you should also avoid eating too late at night if you can, monitor your portion sizes, and steer clear of caffeine and refined sugar before bed.
Well, it looks like I need to make some life changes...