Foods and Drinks That Disrupt Your Sleep: Insights from Sleep Specialists

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In the ongoing quest for a good night’s sleep, many have explored various remedies, from chamomile tea to melatonin supplements. However, according to sleep specialists, there may be more culprits lurking in your kitchen than you realise. Here’s a roundup of seven surprising foods and drinks that could be sabotaging your sleep, along with expert guidance on healthier alternatives.

1. Spicy Foods Indulging in a spicy meal for dinner might seem harmless, but it could spell trouble for your sleep later on. A board-certified sleep medicine and internal medicine doctor warns that spicy foods can increase stomach acidity, leading to disruptive acid reflux that interferes with sleep. A sleep medicine specialist concurs, highlighting that spicy foods can also elevate body temperature, further disrupting sleep patterns.

2. Tomato-Based Foods Whether it’s a classic pizza or a comforting plate of spaghetti, dishes with tomato sauce can be a hidden trigger for acid reflux, similar to spicy foods. Experts advise steering clear of high-sodium and saturated fat foods like pizza at least three hours before bedtime to avoid digestion-related sleep disturbances.

3. Greasy Burgers While a juicy burger may be tempting, its greasy nature can prolong digestion, potentially leading to discomfort and difficulty sleeping, especially if it’s loaded with ketchup, another acid reflux trigger. Opting for plant-based burgers or lean cuts of beef can be a more sleep-friendly choice.

4. Sweet Treats like Ice Cream Indulging in sugary desserts, such as ice cream, can cause blood sugar fluctuations and stomach issues, according to sleep experts. Moreover, the caffeine content in chocolate ice cream can exacerbate sleep disruptions, making it a triple threat to restful slumber.

5. Milk Contrary to popular belief, a glass of milk before bed might not be the best idea. Experts warn that milk can trigger acid reflux due to lactose content, recommending plant-based alternatives for those prone to digestive issues.

6. Sneaky Sources of Caffeine While caffeine’s sleep-disrupting effects are well-known, some unsuspecting beverages like vitamin water or electrolyte drinks may contain significant caffeine levels, catching consumers off guard.

7. Peppermint Despite its seemingly harmless reputation, peppermint can trigger acid reflux, joining the ranks of foods to avoid for better sleep quality.

What to Eat Instead

So, what should you include in your bedtime meal for a restful night? According to sleep specialists, focus on incorporating complex carbohydrates, fibre, and lean protein into your dinner. Foods like vegetables, brown rice, lentils, poultry, and fish promote healthy digestion, which is crucial for sound sleep. Experts emphasise the importance of meal timing, recommending small, low-calorie snacks like nuts if hunger strikes before bedtime.

The link between diet and sleep quality is undeniable, and by being mindful of what we consume, we can potentially improve our sleep patterns without relying on supplements or medication. By avoiding the seven problematic foods and drinks highlighted by sleep experts and opting for sleep-friendly alternatives, you might find yourself bidding farewell to sleepless nights and welcoming rejuvenating rest.

Dawn Jackson
Dawn Jackson
Journalist Dawn is an experienced business journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering stories that impact local communities, Dawn brings a unique perspective to her work. Through her insightful reporting, she keeps readers informed about the latest developments in various regions, shedding light on the economic landscape and entrepreneurial endeavours. Dawn's dedication to delivering accurate and engaging business news makes her a valuable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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