Meeting the internationally recommended hours of sleep is one of the most common challenges, as figures indicate that 45% of adults in Australia and the United States do not get enough sleep. Enough sleep.
According to the National Heart and Lung Institute, insomnia and sleep disturbance are linked to a group of chronic health problems such as blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, in addition to other problems related to mental health, cognition, and concentration, and one may investigate the causes without considering what one eats before sleep.
Nutrition experts have revealed a group of foods that interfere with an individual’s circadian rhythm and negatively affect his sleep patterns when consumed late at night, including:
Drinks and foods that contain caffeine.
Caffeine is one of the most famous substances that cause insomnia, as it acts as a stimulant for the nervous system. Central, which enhances the feeling of alertness and activity, which is why foods and drinks that contain caffeine interfere with sleep.
A 2017 systematic review revealed that caffeine increases the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces the recommended total time.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and chocolate, as well as foods that contain kola nuts or have caffeine as an ingredient, such as tiramisu candy or coffee cake.
Spicy food, an expert in sleep medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, explains that spicy foods that contain large amounts of spices and condiments cause some digestive problems such as indigestion, heartburn, and gastrointestinal reflux. She adds that eating it before bedtime causes stomach acid to move into the esophagus, which leads to difficulty in achieving the state of relaxation required for sleep and enhances the lack of rest.
An Australian study from the University of Tasmania found that capsaicin found in spicy foods disrupts the body's thermoregulation process and raises its core temperature, which hinders the ability to sleep (the ideal body temperature for sleep ranges between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Spicy foods cause digestive problems such as indigestion, heartburn, and gastrointestinal reflux.
High glycemic index foods are represented by refined carbohydrates such as white bread, potatoes, and sweets such as ice cream, cakes, biscuits, and other foods that contain large amounts of added sugar, which stimulate insulin secretion. Which causes blood sugar disturbances, changes the level of hormones in the body, and thus leads to intermittent sleep. It also causes inflammation and disruption of the beneficial bacteria in the body.
An American study, conducted in 2019 on more than 77,000 women, linked eating foods with a high glycemic index to insomnia in women, especially after menopause.
Foods rich in fat
Eating foods rich in fats, especially saturated fats, such as fried chicken, French fries, and mozzarella sticks, affects the quality of sleep, as they cause a burden on the digestive system, whose work slows down to 50% while we are sleeping, and thus the food remains in the stomach for a longer period, which leads to a feeling of discomfort. And anxiety at night.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in 2015, researchers at Columbia University found that participants whose dinner included foods rich in saturated fats were more susceptible to sleep disturbances and waking up at night. The study advised grilling or steaming food if possible instead of frying.
It is not permissible to grill in closed places to avoid the risk of suffocation
Nutrition experts recommend grilling or steaming food
Eating salty foods at night increases water retention in the body and a feeling of dehydration, and the European Endocrine Society found that those who eat foods rich in salt before bed, Such as salty nuts and potato chips, increases their night waking.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, arugula, broccoli, and cabbage, add many essential vitamins to the human body, but they contain a large amount of insoluble fiber, which makes them take longer to digest, and thus a feeling of fullness, which is not what the individual needs when sleeping. Some of them, such as celery, have diuretic properties, which is why experts advise avoiding eating them at night.
Fast and ultra-processed food
Research links diets that rely on fast food and ultra-processed foods to lack of sleep, including a Korean study conducted by researchers from Hallym University in 2018 that included data on more than 118,000 teenagers, between the ages of 12 and 18 years, and it became clear that their sleep problems were linked to eating meals.