Eating Before Bed – The Good and the Bad
What you eat and drink plays a role in both falling and staying asleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try applying these simple changes to your eating and sleeping routine from Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. of The Mayo Clinic:
- Eat a small snack several hours before bedtime. Hunger pains can wake you up, so don't go to sleep hungry. Choose a small, healthy snack when eating before bed, such as a small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk, or yogurt with granola sprinkled on top.
- Avoid large, high-fat meals before bed. Eating a light snack before sleeping is fine, but eating too much late in the evening can interfere with sleep and may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable when lying down.
- Avoid heavy, spicy foods, especially if you're prone to nighttime heartburn. Don't drink too much liquid. While your eating and sleeping routine can affect your night's rest, so can your drinking and sleeping habits. Drinking lots of fluids before bed can cause you to wake up repeatedly to use the bathroom.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine increases the activity of your nervous system, which makes falling asleep more difficult. Avoid caffeinated beverages eight hours before your desired bedtime. Your body doesn't store caffeine, but it does take many hours for it to eliminate the stimulant and its effects.
- Avoid alcohol. Although it may initially make you feel sleepy, alcohol prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes you to awaken in the middle of the night.
Nearly everyone has occasional sleepless nights. But if you have trouble sleeping on a regular or frequent basis, see your doctor. He or she can determine what might be the cause of your sleep problem and how it might be treated. If your doctor thinks you could have asleep disorder related to your eating and sleeping habits, you might be referred to a sleep center for special testing.
Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease.