6 Common Bedtime Food Mistakes You Are Making
In this article, we’ll discuss some common bedtime food mistakes you are making without even knowing which impact your health negatively.
Maintaining a proper diet is essential to ensure a healthy body and prevent the onset of diseases. This drives a lot of people to be conscious of their food habits, and avoid unhealthy food items. However, what they might not be aware of, is that the food habits also have a profound impact on their sleep schedule.
Not only what you eat, but also when you eat affects your sleep quality. In fact, the food that you eat just before you go to sleep is what largely determines the quality of sleep you get. Many people are not able to sleep properly at night due to problems in their diet. The odds are they might not even be aware of the food mistakes they are making.
It is necessary to pay heed to one’s diet to develop healthy sleep habits. To help our readers and to reduce their struggle with sleepless nights, we have curated a list of some of the most common bedtime food mistakes one can make, and how to deal with them.
Bedtime Food Mistakes
1. Eating While Distracted
Watching TV or scrolling through the phone are common mistakes that one makes while eating food. While entertaining, this might lead to you eating more than what you need, as you are distracted and aren’t paying attention to your satiation. This can cause indigestion and even lead to heartburn, drastically impacting your sleep.
To avoid such side effects, you should eat your food wholeheartedly, and then watch TV or use the phone. If you absolutely have to, take out the serving size of your food beforehand, so that you are discouraged from getting up and taking more. This gives your satiety cues a chance to catch up, and for you to get satisfied without overeating.
2. Eating A Protein-rich Meal
In an attempt to lessen carbohydrate and fat consumption at night, in order to lose weight, most people tend to have protein-heavy dinners. While protein is an extremely important nutrient, required to speed up metabolism, and even to stabilize blood sugar levels, it is not the best option when one is trying to sleep.
If you are guilty of having large amounts of protein before you go to sleep, you need to gradually bring its consumption down. While following this approach of gradual reduction, you can clearly notice when the maximum benefits of proteins are achieved. That is the optimum amount required by your body, and you should stick to that.
3. Getting Carried Away With Portions
While munching late at night, one often gets carried away and tends to overeat. This is harmful even when eating healthy snacks, though one might think it isn’t. Eating sends the body into digestion mode, and the entire digestive tract starts working to metabolize the food eaten. This makes it difficult to fall asleep, as instead of feeling full and sleepy, we feel heavy and bloated.
To counteract this, one has to adopt the practice of portion control. Avoid eating foods you like the most, as then you will tend to overeat. Instead, try healthy foods that help you sleep or food items you don’t like too much so that you stop eating as soon as you are full. Being particular with your serving size is the key to healthy eating.
4. Drinking Caffeinated Drinks And Alcohol
Often one drinks beverages without being aware of their caffeine content. Caffeine is a stimulant found in drinks like tea and coffee, and even in chocolate. It is a melatonin suppressant, i.e. it reduces the production and secretion of melatonin in the body. Hence, its consumption might lead to disrupted sleep.
Caffeine ingestion can show its effects for up to 6-8 hours. Hence, one should be wary of the time interval between their last cup of coffee and when they go to sleep. If one absolutely has to have a refreshing drink at night, they should opt for caffeine-free alternatives like juices.
People often consider alcohol to be a sleeping aid and drink it to help them fall asleep. However, this is not true, as alcohol instead interferes with quality sleep. Alcohol acts as a diuretic (a substance promoting excess production of urine), and hence one’s sleep is interrupted many times during the night.
Drinking alcohol makes one tipsy. It makes one lose the fundamental grasp over their senses. Hence, they seem to fall asleep easily. However, this is not ideal as one may wake up with a hangover the next day.
Additionally, during the night, the brain is busy clearing the toxins contributed by the alcohol to the bloodstream, rather than revitalizing the body. One is also not able to reach the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycle, which is the final stage of sleep responsible for mood regulation and memory retention.
5. Going To Bed Empty Stomach
Eating too much is not the only thing that raises issues in sleep, but going to bed hungry also causes concern. When one is hungry, the blood sugar level drops and gives rise to stress signals in the body. It is these signals that actually make one feel the requirement of food and energy.
This makes it extremely difficult to fall asleep. If one feels hungry when they are about to sleep, they should try out a low-fat, low-carb snack that can boost their blood sugar. This will provide the body just the right amount of nutrients required to make it through a good night’s sleep without the stomach gurgling or frequent hunger pangs.
6. Drinking Lots Of Water
Usually, when people are through with their late-night binges, they tend to chug a lot of water to get a feeling of fullness and feel hydrated. However, when they do so right before going to bed, they don’t realize the problems they will face during the night. Drinking lots of water before bed can be linked to frequent bathroom trips at night. The water you drink has to leave the body, in the form of urine, and hence you wake up from time to time to get light.
To avoid this, one needs to ensure that they drink enough water during the day and are well hydrated into the night. Avoid salty food items, as they tend to make you feel thirstier. Instead, eat healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits, or dairy products, which satiate your hunger, and also keep you hydrated.
Bedtime Food Mistakes: Conclusion
It is important for one to be health-conscious and have a strong awareness of the impact food habits have on sleep. Staying away from carbs and junk food at night are the basics that everyone follows, but the above-mentioned mistakes are quite common. One should avoid them to ensure a proper and healthy sleep cycle.
September 11, 2020 Sam Bell