Man having trouble sleeping. Pillow and man with hands in hair frustrated

Food and Sleep…Maybe Not So Friendly Together Afterall

It’s 12 am and you’re body heat is pretty close to 1000 degrees.  You toss, you turn, kick off the sheets, but there is no relief.  Why?  Are you just sleeping hot tonight?  Is it female “power surge”?  Truth is there is no relief, but there is prevention.  Chances are you ate too close to bedtime. 

Eating and drinking before bedtime can cause trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and gastric problems as well.  We’ll cover the simple ideas behind what causes this and how you can avoid issues in the future.

Easiest prevention – Avoid afternoon caffeine.  Caffeine affects our bodies for much longer time periods than we think.  Studies that were done as recent as 2013 concluded that caffeine when taken 6 hours before bed can still reduce your sleep by up to an hour.  Six hours!  The risk of caffeine affecting our sleep is so underestimated it’s downright scary.  The preventative measure here…avoid caffeine well before the evening hours.yawning female sleepy

Late afternoon meals – Work hours have lengthened, our downtime now occurs later in the evening, and as such our dinner times have gone later and later.  The trouble is that is can take up to three hours to digest your food fully.  Those of us with acid reflux know the discomfort that can cause while laying down and trying to sleep.  How do we overcome the issue of having to eat so late?  Well, when work is causing this to be a necessity consider eating smaller dinner meals.  Experts suggest lunch being the more substantial meal of the day, with dinner being a smaller less spicy, less fatty, higher fiber meal.  It won’t be a popular choice for those of you with children. However, this practice can lead to better weight control on top of helping you sleep better.

Sugary foods – Did you know one of the biggest culprits of sleep disruption is that late night ice cream you seem to enjoy so much?  Yes, sugar, especially late night sugar, is a considerable sleep disruptor.  Your body seeks to burn off those quick burning carbs, also to convert those fats into store energy, and guess what one of the leading issues this causes?  HEAT, body heat to be more accurate.  Heat is an enemy of sleep; your body requires lower body temperatures to fall asleep and to stay asleep.  Everyone knows the late night ice cream isn’t an everyday practice, but maybe it’s best that it not become a practice at all?  Afterall your sleep, your health, and your brain need the rest. 

In practice, early eating, less caffeine, and less late night sugary snacks aren’t all that hard habits to keep.  The issues you prevent by not doing these simple things are far more critical.  Good sleep prevents heart issues, prevents memory breakdown, prevents sickness, and the list goes on and on.  Make good sleep a goal, make it your lifestyle, you won’t be sorry!

If you have comments on this or any other blog in the Sleep Well News and Blog pages, please feel free to post in the comments section below! We welcome your input and suggestions.  As always…When you Sleep Well, you Live Well.

Sources:  The Sleep Revolution, 2017, Arianna Huffington:

About the author:

Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.