How often do you wake up feeling like you haven't slept at all? Even if you have a great bedtime routine or one of the best mattresses on the market, it can be extremely frustrating starting your morning feeling tired and unrested. Known as non-restorative sleep, it's a very common experience that negatively affects your health and ability to function during the day. Diets low in fibre and high in saturated fat have been associated with non-restorative sleep, and if you find yourself waking up throughout the night, it could be that your diet has too much sugar in it.
To explore this further, we spoke to Ryan Davidson, a nutritionist from Raw Juicery, who believes those who struggle with non-restorative sleep are eating foods they shouldn't before bedtime.
Ryan says "If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or don’t feel refreshed when you wake up from your sleep, the food & beverages you’re eating could be the problem. Fixing your diet will help you go into deep and REM sleep, considered restorative sleep. Those who regularly enter these sleep cycles wake up feeling refreshed and energetic, ready to take on the day.”
Keep reading to find out which foods you should avoid before bed - you might learn something new!
1. Spicy foods
According to Ryan, one of the worst foods to consume before bedtime is spicy foods. If you are a big fan of chillies, hot sauce or curries, you may want to eat them earlier in the day as spicy foods can cause heartburn and raise your overall body temperature.
"Spicy foods cause your temperature to increase, which is the opposite of what should happen at night time. Your body temperature naturally lowers every night while you sleep, and that drop in temperature is what helps you stay asleep. Eating spicy food, or working out just before bed, clashes with your body’s internal clock disrupting your sleep cycle and preventing you from entering REM sleep" says Ryan.
2. Fried foods
Fried foods should also be avoided as they can cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep. Ryan says "even high protein meats and red meat can cause sleep problems because they’re harder for our bodies to break down and digest. Your metabolism accelerates when you eat these foods and as a result, so does your internal temperature. Both of these will delay a good night’s sleep."
3. Sugary snacks
If you have skipped dinner and are opting for a snack from the cupboard, be prepared to stare at the ceiling all night. Jam on toast or tea and biscuits may make a quick snack but the sugar in both will send your blood sugars high.
"Jam on toast is a quick fix that doesn't require much effort, but with up to 20g of carbs per slice, you're going to cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, can expect to visit the bathroom more often throughout the night. Your kidneys will overcompensate for high blood sugars, meaning you’ll have to get out of bed to urinate during the night, disturbing your sleep" says Ryan.
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