5 foods and drinks to avoid to sleep better tonight

Getting a good night’s sleep can help reduce your risk of a number of medical conditions, including high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, and stroke, to name a few. When you sleep well, you also have better concentration and better performance. Certain foods can help you fall asleep faster, while others can keep you awake, disrupt sleep cycles, and affect the quality of your sleep.

In those hours before bed, experts recommend avoiding the following foods and drinks:

1. Caffeine

Nutrition experts recommend avoiding coffee within six hours of bedtime, because “it can take six to eight hours for your body to process and eliminate the caffeine you consume in one sitting,” says Kristine Dilley, lead dietitian for patients. clinics at Ohio State Nutrition Services. Wexner University Medical Center. But this can vary by age because some people become more sensitive to caffeine as they age and may need more than eight hours to process caffeine, says Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia Irving Medical University. Center.

2. liquor

While alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep initially, it doesn’t necessarily lead to better overall sleep quality, says Dilley.

“The second half of your sleep will likely be more interrupted and full of weird dreams, as alcohol consumption promotes frequent waking and missing deep sleep cycles,” Dilley said. “If you enjoy a cocktail in the evening, consider pairing it with dinner.”

3. Large meals

Eating a larger meal two to three hours before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Experts recommend giving yourself time to digest before turning off the lights.

“Many people skimp on meals and snacks throughout the day to save calories for a more indulgent meal at night. This can backfire and make you feel full. It also increases the chance of heartburn or indigestion,” says Dilley. “It’s best to spread your calories more evenly throughout the day and then take your time and savor dinner.”

4. High-fat foods

Try to avoid heavy, high-fat meals just before bed.

“Eating large amounts of fat slows down digestion and can cause heartburn, which makes you feel uncomfortable, which can interfere with your quality of sleep,” says Dilley. “There is also research to suggest that consuming high-fat foods later in the day can disrupt circadian rhythms, leading to fragmented sleep.”

5. Spicy foods

Spicy food can be a trigger for indigestion and heartburn, according to Dilley, so you may need more than a couple of hours before bed to digest those foods.

Experts say that these nutritional and lifestyle changes are most effective when combined with sleep hygiene practices.

“While we have evidence that there are certain foods that can affect sleep, we need to think about it in the context of creating healthy sleep habits in general,” says Erica Jansen, a research assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan. “That includes turning off technology before bed, having a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, having a good sleep environment, like a cool, dark space to sleep in. Also what we do during the day, exposure to light in the morning, physical activity and trying to address the major stressors in our life… all of that goes a long way in impacting sleep along with food.”

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