There are quite a few foods that you should avoid eating as a late-night snack
Avoid some of these foods for a good night’s sleep.
With the new year comes a list of resolutions to get healthy and fit. Eating right and getting regular exercise are important, but nothing keeps you in better health than a good night’s sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep each night can leave you feeling rested and ready to take on the day. But falling asleep easily greatly depends on what you ate for dinner.
To make sure that you get the best night’s sleep possible, we spoke with Dr. Michael Gelb, DDS, MS, a New York-based sleep doctor, and he helped compile a list of foods that disrupt sleep. Turns out, there are quite a few foods that you should avoid eating as a late-night snack.
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, think about what you ate for dinner or dessert. For example, you might want to skip the dark chocolate since it contains caffeine and other stimulants. It’s also important to leave out fatty foods and avoid a high-protein diet. Check out more of Dr. Gelb’s tips on which foods to avoid for better night’s sleep.
Star the new year off right with a few simple and wise food choices. With stress and worrying, falling asleep is hard enough. Cut out some of these foods before bedtime and be fast asleep before you even start counting sheep.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.
5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Night
Nov. 17, 2013 -- intro:If you're having trouble falling—or staying—asleep at night, your diet could be to blame. Steer clear of these top sleep saboteurs, and you should be getting a good night's rest in no time, says dietitian Shelly Redmond, R.D., author of Eat Well and Be Fabulous.
quicklist: 1 category:5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Nighttitle:Caffeineurl:text:You know that caffeine will keep you wide-awake, but what you may not realize? Coffee and soda aren't the only culprits. Some OTC meds contain caffeine, too, as do many teas. If you're caffeine-sensitive, start opting for decaf and checking the labels of any meds you're planning to take about eight hours before bedtime.
quicklist: 2 category:5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Nighttitle:Alcoholurl:text:A glass of wine might sound like it'll help you relax and fall asleep, but studies have actually found that alcohol causes frequent waking at night, says Redmond. See, while booze may help you drift off, it also reduces REM sleep—and without it, you won't feel like you've logged any shuteye at all. So stick to just one glass no more than one to two hours before bed to avoid a rocky night.
quicklist: 3category:5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Nighttitle:Fluidsurl:text:Water is great for weight loss and staying healthy but can have the unfortunate side effect of waking you up for middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks. And not only do 2 a.m. restroom runs interrupt your sleep cycle, but they can also cut into your REM sleep. Try to avoid drinking fluids 60-90 minutes before your usual bedtime to make sure you actually spend all night in bed.
quicklist: 4category:5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Nighttitle:Aged and Fermented Foodsurl:text:Tyramine, an amino acid found in aged and fermented foods, stimulates the brain and could keep you up at night as a result. Aged cheese, smoked fish, and cured meats all contain it—so if you must have a cheesy snack before bedtime, stick to the fresh stuff, like mozzarella.
quicklist:5category:5 Foods That Are Keeping You Up At Nighttitle:Tomato-Based Productsurl:text:Anything with a lot of acid can cause heartburn and discomfort during the night—and that includes tomato-based foods and spicy dishes. To prevent tossing and turning, Redmond recommends staying away from these types of foods at least three hours before you hit the sack.
Why Does Your Cat Wake You at Night?
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault
In their natural habitats, cats are nocturnal creatures. They sleep almost all day and play or hunt all night. There are a few reasons why your kitty might be prompted to wake you up in the dead of the night.
- It may not be getting enough stimulation, enrichment, and exercise during its active periods, so while you're starting to fall asleep, your cat may be fully awake and looking to play.
- If your cat spends most of its active time home alone while you're at work or elsewhere, it may be bored and looking for companionship.
- Your kitty is hungry, thirsty or wants a midnight snack or a special treat.
- Your cat's schedule isn't in sync with yours anymore.
- Your kitty's bedding or litterpan has been disturbed.
Take note if your cat is old and/or its nighttime friskiness is new or unusual behavior. Whenever your cat exhibits off behavior, wakes at night for no reason, seems to be sickly, or displays other symptoms that it's sick, check with your vet right away.
Unusual bouts of interrupted sleep can be a sign of illness, ranging from a toothache to something even more serious like arthritis, hyperthyroidism, or high blood pressure.
The Epicurious Blog
If you&aposve kicked your afternoon coffee habit and stopped looking at your blue-light emitting phone before bed but still can&apost sleep, it might be time to take another look at what you&aposre eating before you go to bed.
"Sleep is part of your overall health so the same things that you do to take care of your body and health are good for your sleep," says Janet K. Kennedy (a.k.a. NYC Sleep Doctor), a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in New York City. "If you&aposre snacking at night, make sure it&aposs a healthy snack that&aposs not loaded with sugar, which can alter blood sugar. Eliminating foods one by one will give you a sense if one may be affecting your sleep."
Here, Kennedy reveals foods that may be keeping you awake at night and the surprising reason why you should choose ice cream over cookies as a nighttime snack.
Wine, Beer, and Booze A nightcap before bed may not actually be a good idea. "Alcohol is sedating but it alters the sleep cycle so you don&apost spend as much time in deep sleep," says Kennedy. "The process of metabolizing alcohol wakes you up so your sleep is fragmented. Wine, beer, and cocktails have the same effect on the metabolism. It varies from person to person but it&aposs better not to go to bed feeling the effects of alcohol."
Tomatoes According to the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 20 percent of the US population has symptoms of reflux, one of the main causes of sleeplessness. Tomatoes and other foods with high acid content like onions, garlic, and spicy foods are the most likely to cause reflux. "Reflux is a big issue for sleep and eating those kinds of reflux triggering foods is better in the early evening so you make sure you have enough time to digest before going to bed," says Kennedy. "If you eat them right before bed there&aposs a good chance that you may have an acid problem as soon as you lie down."
Steak "It&aposs a heavy, high fat protein which the body takes longer to digest than a leaner protein, vegetable or carb," says Kennedy. "You should not be going to bed on a completely full stomach. Having your body work so hard when you want to be sleeping is going to impact your sleep. When you sleep, your metabolism is supposed to slow down, so if you have a big meal, it&aposs going to take longer for your body to decelerate."
Chocolate Sure it tastes great but chocolate has caffeine, which disrupts sleep cycles. "It takes a lot of chocolate to get a lot of caffeine so chocolate in moderation is your best before bed," says Kennedy. "People differ in their response to chocolate. If you need your chocolate fix, have it but be aware that for some people, a whole chocolate bar is fine and for others a chocolate square is all they can handle."
Cookies, Doughnuts & High Sugar Carbs "People turn to comfort foods as a way to wind down but they&aposre not healthy for sleep because they cause fluctuations in blood sugar and keep it from going down," says Kennedy. "It&aposs a comforting thing to have sweets at night. A salad isn&apost comforting. It&aposs fine to have a snack but rather than diving into the Oreos, have a piece of fruit and cheese or some peanut butter, which has protein and fat. Even ice cream is better than cookies because it has fat, which isn&apost metabolized so quickly that it spikes blood sugar and causes a crash."
Vomiting 101: Why You Throw Up and the Best Way to Recover
It’s that feeling you wish you’d never had. You’re suddenly queasy. Your digestive system shifts violently into reverse. And that meal you just swallowed comes back to see the light of day.
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Vomiting is definitely not fun. But it has a purpose. “Vomiting is a reflex that allows the body to rid itself of ingested toxins and poisons,” says family medicine physician Matthew Goldman, MD.
When vomiting happens fairly often, it’s important to determine why and to get it under control. “Vomiting can make people severely dehydrated, which can lead to serious complications,” he says.
“Our bodies depend on good circulation to carry oxygen and nutrients around. If there’s not enough fluid, circulation doesn’t happen. And that can be life-threatening.”
That doesn’t mean you should run to the doctor every time you vomit. But when vomiting is frequent or prolonged, you’ll need to know what’s causing it so you can feel better.
It’s a complicated process
Although it’s your belly in distress, “it is changes in your immune and/or nervous system that trigger the vomiting reflex,” says Dr. Goldman.
Neurochemicals can travel different pathways to activate receptors that start the vomiting process.
A trigger zone in your brain may pick up immune changes, or sense the presence of drugs or toxins. Or the medulla (part of your brainstem) may gather relevant information from different parts of your body. Or your vagus nerve, which runs from your brainstem to your GI tract, may signal that something is abnormal in your gut.
But the end result is always the same: Your last meal rockets up — and out.
Vomiting has many causes
Dr. Goldman says that common causes of vomiting in adults include:
- Viruses (gastroenteritis, aka “stomach flu”) and bacteria (food poisoning).
- Overindulgence (drinking too much alcohol or smoking too much marijuana).
- Medical conditions (pregnancy, motion sickness, migraines, vertigo).
- Intense pain (it can release substance P, a chemical that signals the brain to vomit).
- Medications (vomiting can be a side effect of chemotherapy, for instance).
When to see the doctor
Sometimes an upset stomach is harmless. Having one episode of vomiting isn’t usually concerning, Dr. Goldman says. You throw up and then immediately feel better.
But other times, vomiting requires medical attention. “If you’re still vomiting after two days — especially if you have significant chest or belly pain — you should see your doctor,” he says.
If these symptoms accompany vomiting, seek medical attention:
- Blood (black specks may resemble coffee grounds) in vomit
- Black, tarry bowel movements
- A fever of 101° or higher
- Significant headaches
- A stiff neck
- Dehydration, dry mouth or excessive thirst
- Muscle cramping
- Dizziness or difficulty standing
- Dark urine or no urination in more than five hours
How to recover from vomiting
Make hydration your main focus after a bout of vomiting, says Dr. Goldman. Drink clear fluids (water, diluted juices, ginger ale), and eat foods that are mostly liquid (Jell-O®, clear broth, popsicles).
Ease yourself back into your regular diet with small amounts of bland foods (plain yogurt, plain oatmeal, grits, bread, crackers). Avoid fatty foods they digest more slowly and can cause nausea. Steer clear of sugar, and sugary or caffeinated drinks, which can cause dehydration.
It’s also helpful to avoid strong smells, which may trigger your gag reflex.
But don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you aren’t getting better. “If you can’t keep anything down, come in and get IV fluids and medication,” he says. “You might even need to have some imaging done to help pinpoint the problem.”
How to prevent vomiting
Implementing a few good habits can help you steer clear of vomiting in many cases.
Your best defense against stomach viruses and bacteria is to wash your hands regularly. Use soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Scrub your fingernails, and in between your fingers as well.
To prevent food poisoning, keep tabs on expiration dates. Discard any unused food that’s past its prime.
If you get motion sickness or seasickness, take medication to stop nausea before it starts. If you feel a migraine coming on, take your headache medication at the earliest warning sign.
Finally, tell your doctor when pain is intolerable. He or she can help you find ways to minimize it. And if your medication is making you queasy, ask your doctor about alternative options.
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"Almonds are a great go-to snack for a quick satisfying pick me up to give you a boost of energy. They are full of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats to keep you satisfied along with minerals and vitamins such as manganese, copper, riboflavin, and magnesium to help support energy production." — Jen Flachbart, MS, RDN
Always Sleepy? Try these 15 Foods to Keep You Awake
It&rsquos the time of the day when you really need to get something done BUT your sleepiness decides to betray you again, you know, just to make your life harder. Whenever this happens, it&rsquos the worst feeling ever and it totally sucks!
Sleep is usually treasured by us, but when sleepiness starts to annoy us during the day, it starts to become an annoying problem that needs to be dealt with. Nutrition is an important factor that affects sleep at the surface, but there may be other serious issues underlying poor sleep as well. See sleepsowell.com for more information, the folks over there provide excellent product information about how you can improve your sleep.
It&rsquos definitely normal to feel sleepy sometimes, but there are some of us who just feel way more sleepy than the average person &ndash to the point that it starts to slow us down and affect our productivity. Now we&rsquore not talking about people who get less sleep at night and then end up losing their cognitive abilities during the day. Rather, we&rsquore referring to those sleepy people that get all the sleep they need but still end up feeling sleepy multiple times during the day. If this sounds like you, then you surely would want to know how to fix this annoyance.
Turns out, the problem is usually in our diet. If you&rsquore getting enough sleep but still feel sleepy during the day, your diet may be to blame. Unlike other factors such as genetics that may also cause sleepiness, diet is something we can actually control.
Note that one other common reason for sleepiness is lack of exposure to sunlight during the day. You need to be exposed to natural light to let your body know it&rsquos daytime and you need to wake up already. Make sure you keep this in check first.
Luckily, there are some common foods that can easily help us stay awake and energized throughout the day. Try these 15 healthy foods to keep you awake and energized. Don&rsquot worry, they&rsquore all yummy and healthy 🙂 You don&rsquot need to be eating ALL of them, just test out which ones work the best for you!
And sorry to all the coffee lovers reading this, you won&rsquot find coffee or any caffeine-containing foods/drinks on this list. Resorting to coffee (or caffeine in general) to keep you awake is a temporary cure and is not recommended. It may be effective, but it isn&rsquot healthy nor is it natural.
Tip: Feel free to bookmark this page so you can have some food options to look at whenever you&rsquore sleepy 🙂
Bananas are hands down one of the most energizing fruits that mother nature has to offer. Eating this potassium-filled fruit will give you loads of energy and keep you awake for several hours.
Ever seen athletes on TV grabbing Bananas during their breaks? They do this because of the mental and physical energy boost that Bananas provide. Yes, bananas are also excellent brain food. They help you focus and concentrate much more, basically allowing you to recruit more mental prowess. If you have a big exam coming up, a Banana prior to the exam can keep you at your best.
You can eat them at any time of the day, but the best time for most people is usually mid-day. Since your breakfast provides you with sufficient energy to start your day, having a Banana around lunch time will keep you focused for the rest of the day whether you&rsquore at work or in school.
Also, Bananas don&rsquot have to be boring. If you don&rsquot like eating them in their raw form, you can always get creative and consume them in the form of shakes or smoothies!
The world will forever be grateful to the person who invented oatmeal. There&rsquos a reason why oatmeal is such a popular breakfast staple in many households. Oatmeal and the whole grains that come with it have a lot of good fiber and carbohydrates to offer to your body. These carbohydrates are slowly released throughout the day keeping you energized for a long period of time. This is also why the best time to have oatmeal is in the morning.
Oatmeal is extremely healthy as well, not only does it come with good calories and carbs, but it also has loads of fiber which keeps you lean and healthy. Days that begin with oatmeal in breakfast are often way more productive and active than days that begin with any other breakfast. If you want a quick yet healthy breakfast, oatmeal is the way to go.
Some of us may not like the plain oatmeal taste. If you can&rsquot bear that plain bland taste, you can always opt to add in fruits or get a pack of flavored oatmeal instead. Eating oatmeal is super convenient as well &ndash the fact that you can eat it (or even drink it) however you want is very appealing to the modern human. Heck, you know what gives you more energy than oatmeal? BANANA-flavored oatmeal!
3. Citrus Fruits
Citrus Fruits such as Oranges have two things going for them aside from their pleasant scent: Vitamin C and Sugar. Both of these help you stay awake and alert. Also, while they don&rsquot technically belong to citrus fruits, Pineapples are also packed with Vitamin C and energy-boosting nutrients.
The sugar from these fruits will give you an energy burst but it won&rsquot affect your glucose levels as much as candies, which means you won&rsquot experience that ridiculously annoying crash after the energy burst. Not only will the Vitamin C in citrus fruits boost your immune system to keep you immune to illness, it&rsquoll also help convert your fat stores to energy making you more alert.
Fruits can be consumed at any time of the day, but you will get the most efficient energy boost if you have them during breakfast. Citrus fruits, in particular, are extremely light on your appetite so you can eat them generously without feeling full. Due to all the juice present in these fruits, they also do a good job of keeping you hydrated.
Hopefully, that&rsquos enough reason to convince you to eat your fruits! Get some citrus fruits in your daily diet and you&rsquoll be surprised at how healthy you will feel.
In terms of nutrition, Fish is absolutely full of wonder. This white meat is highly beneficial for your brain, bones, muscles, skin, and even your hair. Fish is an excellent brain food and it is one of the healthiest superfoods too. In fact, if you decided to live your life eating only one kind of meat, Fish would definitely be the healthiest option.
What powers Fish is the high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and Protein in it. Protein offers a slow energy release which keeps your mind alert for a long period of time. Omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed by the body&rsquos muscles and tissues increasing the available energy in the body.
Most Fish are healthy and you can&rsquot really go wrong with a particular kind of Fish. That said, Salmon is generally known as the most nutrient-packed fish, but it&rsquos the most pricey as well. You can consume Fish at any time of the day and in any amount really, it&rsquos that healthy.
If fish is arguably the king of superfoods, eggs would definitely come close. Eggs are relatively low in calories and high in Protein and Choline (an essential B Vitamin).
Eggs are known as the secret food of champions and rightly so. They give you the power and energy to face and conquer your day, both physically and mentally. Protein takes care of the physical aspect while Choline boosts your metabolism and nervous system function, keeping your brain clear of anxious thoughts and alert.
The best thing about eggs is the ease with which you can eat them. You can prepare eggs in many forms, whether it is hard-boiled, poached, omelet, or scrambled. Scrambled egg is the fastest way to cook eggs, and for many, the most delicious as well.
In fact, some say that eating two eggs a day every day will make you immune to most common illnesses out there!
6. Green Vegetables
Leafy greens may be the worst nightmare for many, but let&rsquos face it, they&rsquore extremely healthy for your body and may potentially be a cure for your sleepiness too!
Foods that don&rsquot taste good on your tongue are usually really good for the body.
Most green vegetables are nutrient-packed with high amounts of Folate, Zinc, Fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K that help boost energy in your brain and body to keep you awake, alert and focused.
Leafy greens also have lots of other benefits to your body and regularly eating green vegetables can even increase life expectancy. So don&rsquot forget to eat your greens!
7. Almonds and Walnuts
Almonds and Walnuts are usually known for their reputation for being brain foods due to the high levels of Omega-3 present in them. For the same reason, they tend to be great energy boosters.
Keep a pack of almonds or walnuts near you so you can passively munch on them when you&rsquore bored or hungry. Regularly consuming these nuts will keep your cognitive abilities at their best more often than not. So not only do these nuts help you avoid drowsiness, but they also make you smarter at the same time!
You may have noticed from the list so far that it is the brain foods are usually the ones effective in combating sleepiness during the day.
If you want a yummier and cheaper alternative to the previously mentioned almonds and walnuts, consider stocking up on peanuts to keep you awake.
Like most nuts, peanuts are also high in Protein and Omega-3. So they tend to offer slow releases of energy throughout the day. This makes peanuts a very convenient yet functional snack.
You should be careful though to not eat too many peanuts in a day. Reason being, peanuts are rich in oils that can prove annoying for your throat or skin. Also, peanuts are a known allergen so never consume them if you have any sort of allergies to nuts.
You may already know that the Avocado is a superfood with so many health benefits. There are just too many benefits of the Avocado that it would be impossible to list all of them here, go to this article to see all the benefits.
Avocadoes contain generous amounts of Fiber, Potassium, healthy fats, Vitamin C/D/A/K, Folate, Iron, Zinc and many more nutrients. Seriously, what more can anyone ask for from a food?!
But the Avocado is on this list not because it can help reduce the risk of many diseases but because it also helps to keep you awake and energized. Avocadoes are low in calories but high in nutrients making it the perfect recipe for increasing metabolism to keep you lean and active. You&rsquoll never feel at a loss of energy if you regularly eat Avocadoes.
The best way to eat Avocadoes is not to eat them, but to drink them. Yes, Avocado smoothies are incredibly delicious thanks to the naturally creamy yellow flesh inside Avocadoes.
Pasta is loaded with carbohydrates which means it&rsquos an excellent source of energy. Including a serving of pasta in your meals is an easy and convenient way to keep you full and at the same time energized for the day.
Pasta is basically carbohydrates and doesn&rsquot really have other nutrients. That&rsquos not to say that it&rsquos unhealthy or anything. Even if it&rsquos just plain carbs, pasta is delicious and it does a good job of keeping you awake.
The best time to have pasta is during lunch, most people prefer to have it for lunch anyway. You can also have it for breakfast, but there are healthier options that should be reserved for breakfast. It tends to be rather heavy for dinner.
11. Sugarcane Juice
Sugarcane juice is a popular drink during the summer because of how well it quenches your thirst and leaves you refreshed. This delicious drink hydrates you even better than water. It gives you that instant kick of energy and doesn&rsquot let your mind crash afterward as coffee would.
And unlike normal sugar, sugar cane juice is really healthy. It is packed with alkaline nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which make it good for your digestive system and musculoskeletal system.
Don&rsquot hesitate to drink sugar cane juice thinking that it&rsquos unhealthy like sugar because it&rsquos not. So go ahead and grab a glass of chilled sugar cane juice to revitalize yourself.
You can also eat sugar cane as a whole if you don&rsquot like its juice, but that would just be harder and weird.
Compared to other common sources of carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes, Corn is the healthiest and most nutritious of them all. It helps you stay alert and energized thanks to its high concentration of fiber and carbohydrates.
Also, corn is not just plain carbohydrates. It contains various antioxidants that help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease and various cancers. It should be the preferred choice of carbohydrates in any meal.
And yes, the same can be said about popcorn. So if you don&rsquot want to doze off during a boring movie, some popcorn would probably be of good help 🙂
13. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a very powerful brain food that boosts cognitive function which helps you stay awake. If you don&rsquot like dark chocolate, then too bad for you, because you won&rsquot get the same positive effects with any other kind of chocolate.
Yes, dark chocolate is special in that regard. In fact, dark chocolate is unique in that it is actually healthy unlike white or milk chocolate.
What makes dark chocolate healthy are its antioxidants that can help fight and prevent many diseases. We&rsquore not talking about dark chocolate that&rsquos mixed with sugars and sweetened milk, but the pure dark chocolate. The more pure and dark the chocolate is, the better it is for your brain and body.
However, just like you should with any other food, be mindful that you consume dark chocolate in moderation since it&rsquos relatively strong.
Okay, we know this one isn&rsquot a food, but water is extremely important to keep you awake.
Why? because it hydrates you.
Hydration is the primary pre-requisite to staying awake and focused. Even if you eat all the foods above but you&rsquore not hydrated, you will feel sleepy. So make sure that you keep hydrated throughout the day. Your body really needs water to function properly.
Lack of water will also take its toll on your mind. You may have noticed that you can&rsquot think properly when you&rsquore dehydrated. Remember that water is H2O, and the &ldquoO&rdquo there is Oxygen. Your brain needs enough supply of oxygen to function properly. This is the same reason why exercising outdoors is good for your brain and makes you smarter.
15. Chewing Gum
We&rsquore down to the last one and your face is probably broken right now wondering why the hell is chewing gum on this list. Yes, we know it&rsquos not even a food.
Chewing gum is your last resort. If you&rsquove made the necessary changes in your diet with the listed foods but still happen to be a sleepy head, then chewing gum can possibly save you.
When you chew gum, you&rsquore constantly exercising your jaw and face muscles which keep the blood flow moving in the head (and the brain). This is why it is very difficult to fall asleep while chewing gum. The more sleepy you are, the faster and harder you should chew, and you will slowly ward off the sleepiness.
Chewing gum can be your secret weapon to not falling asleep on those extremely boring seminars, classes, or talks.
All this may sound funny, but it really works! So if all else fails, chewing gum can be your savior in keeping you awake and alert!
There you have it, add these foods to your diet and you will surely feel more active than before.
One thing must be mentioned at this point. Some people try to get more and more sleep to fix their sleepiness. It does not work that way, in fact, oversleeping can make the case worse and make you even more sleepy! So just get enough sleep and eat well, and you&rsquoll be energized to face life.
If you know any other foods that can increase alertness and energy, let us know in the comments!
What&rsquos the fun in living stronger alone? If you found this article useful, go ahead and share it with the people you care about! Let&rsquos live stronger together!
13 Foods That Could Be Affecting Your Sleep
Skip the cup of coffee or the nighttime sleep aid and try one of these foods instead for a natural way to wake up or settle down.
It’s a strange phenomenon that you can pour yourself a glass of red wine at dinner and somehow find yourself falling asleep on the couch by 8 p.m. The foods we consume are crucial to our daily functioning, and in the same way can affect how alert and awake we are for the morning meeting, and how quickly we fall asleep at bedtime.
If you’re looking to swap out your daily cup of joe or fall asleep without hours of tossing and turning, try one of these sleep-affecting foods in your daily routine.
Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.
1. Hot Sauce
Adding hot sauce to your meal may mess with your sleep. The spicy stuff can keep you awake and increase your body temperature at bedtime, making it harder to fall asleep. Learn how to make it at home here.
Snack on edamame, make a tofu stir-fry for dinner, or warm up a steamy bowl of miso soup for some extra magnesium. The mineral helps relax muscles and makes it easier to catch some z’s.
If you needed another reason to love avocados, their high amounts of unsaturated fat can increase your serotonin levels, the chemical that stimulates the part of your brain that induces sleep. They are also high in magnesium, which can help you hit the hay.
Chickpea hummus is high in the amino acid tryptophan, the chemical that can help you fall asleep normally. The versatile beans are also high in folate, which helps regulate sleeping, and Vitamin B6 which helps regulate your internal clock. If that’s not enough to get you munching your way to shut-eye, the creamy dip is also high in the muscle-relaxing mineral, magnesium. Try our Green Pea and Parsley Hummus Recipe (pictured above).
6. Nightcaps are a bad news for sustained slumber
Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it often causes more arousals throughout the night.
Even though the name sounds promising, nightcaps and other alcoholic drinks are a bad choice before bed. You might think that you sleep well after drinking, and in some ways you do. Alcohol generally makes it easier for people to fall asleep, and can cause you to succumb more quickly to a deeper sleep. However, researchers found that for both heavy and light drinkers, alcohol tends to cause increased “wake after sleep onset,” which refers to how much a person wakes up after initially falling asleep.
Alcohol also changes REM, or rapid eye movement, throughout the night. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause a decrease in REM sleep. This stage of sleep is hypothesized to be important in memory, and could be connected to our ability to regulate emotions.
8 Foods And Drinks That Will Make You Focus
Are you zoning out right now? You're reading this article instead of doing your actual job, aren't you? We've all been there. But good news: Stopping the cycle of procrastination could be as simple as having a snack&mdashand no, we don't mean heading to the vending machine for your 3 p.m. M&M fix.
Turns out, there are foods and drinks proven to snap you out of your funk&mdashor prevent it altogether&mdashthat won't leave you in a groggy stupor moments later. Here, Jen McDaniel, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, shares some of her favorite edible ways to power through your day and keep the cute animal videos to a minimum (except maybe this one&mdashit's amazing).
1. Coffee + Cinnamon
Sure, it might seem obvious that coffee would perk you up and help you focus, but did you know that two to three daily cups have been linked to both long- and short-term improvements in memory? Bolster its brain-boosting effects even further by adding a few dashes of cinnamon&mdasha 2009 study found that even just the smell of this spice can lead to increased feelings of alertness and decreased frustration. (Cook quick meals at home that taste great and fight fat! Sign up for Chef'd and get all the ingredients and recipes delivered to your doorstep.)
2. Green Tea
3. The Right Breakfast
It's the most important meal of the day, after all. McDaniel's top picks: fiber-packed oatmeal and protein-packed eggs. They offer up an even stream of energy, compared with more processed, refined picks like corn flakes, bagels, or nutrition bars. Don't even think about a donut&mdashyou'll be asleep at your desk by 10 a.m. (Check out these 11 egg recipes like you've never had.)
Not only has eating more darkly pigmented fruits like blueberries been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's, but some studies show that eating them can actually boost concentration and memory up to 5 hours later. Just thank all those antioxidants, which increase blood flow (and thus, oxygen) to the brain, making mental tasks easier. Try adding them to your morning oatmeal or afternoon salad.
5. Dark Chocolate or Cocoa Powder
6. Water + Lemon
Some jazzed up water may be all you need&mdashstudies show that dehydration can mess with memory and overall brain functioning big-time, while other research has found that the scent of lemon improves performance on tasks that require a great deal of concentration.
8. Peppermint Tea
Even without caffeine, this tasty brew can perk up your brain. Studies have found that the scent of peppermint is associated with reduced anxiety and fatigue, and enhanced motivation and performance.