Everyone knows that it is better to avoid drinking coffee before sleeping if one wants to spend a peaceful night. But coffee is only one of the culprits; there are other foods you should avoid at dinner if you do not want to struggle to fall asleep or to wake up in the middle of the night.
Stress at work, overwork, personal worries: so many reasons that may make you want to accompany dinner with a glass of wine (or two). In this case, you can say goodbye to your night’s sleep because alcohol is metabolized very quickly in the body and causes dehydration. You will most likely have to get up in the middle of the night to quench your thirst.
Instead: after dinner, prepare yourself a serene night herbal tea. A tea made of equal parts of hawthorn, orange blossom and chamomile should improve your chances of a wonderful night. If you can not drink it without sugar, add a quarter of a teaspoon of honey instead of regular sugar.
Cooked fried foods take much longer to digest. If you go to bed after eating, you may experience stomach cramps or acid reflux. Same for soft drinks.
Instead: for a good night’s sleep, choose foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid necessary for the synthesis of serotonin, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters that regulates sleep. Cod, cooked cheeses and Thai rice are rich in tryptophan. One study showed that a meal with Thai rice at dinner halves the time needed to fall asleep.
Chicken and other high-protein foods should not be eaten at dinner because they require a much longer digestion time. So, your body will focus on this digestion instead of going into sleep mode (when the digestion activity is supposed to slow down by about 50%).
Instead, opt for complex carbohydrate foods (formerly known as slow sugars) that promote sleep. Anti-insomnia champions include baked potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Yes, after a long day of work it’s comforting to eat ice cream right from the fridge watching the latest episodes of your favorite series. But ice cream is mostly fat (heavy to digest) and sugar, which will give you energy in the short term and prevent you from falling into sleep.
Instead: for dessert, opt for a banana, an apple, figs or nuts. And especially avoid dark chocolate, which contains caffeine and bromine, a stimulant that increases heart rate and can cause insomnia.