Getting optimal sleep is important to keep your physical and mental health at their best. When you don’t get enough or good quality sleep on a regular basis, you could be at a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health disorders. Sleep helps boost the immune system and gives your body a chance to recover from the day. In order to get this good sleep, it’s important to develop a nightly routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and watch what you eat throughout the day and near bedtime. It’s obvious that we should avoid stimulating foods like caffeine close to bedtime, but did you know that there’s another food culprit that might be keeping you up at night?
Avocado: A Brain-Stimulating Food
Avocado. Yes, this “super-fruit” contains lots of healthy fats, potassium, fiber, and other vitamins. And it’s delicious, too. You should by all means keep avocado as a normal part of your daily diet – just don’t eat it too close to bedtime. If you regularly consume avocado during dinner or a late-night snack, you might be inhibiting your ability to easily fall asleep. Avocados, along with aubergines, nuts, and soy sauce, contain an amino acid that works to stimulate your brain. It releases a hormone called norepinephrine, which can make you stay up at night because of how much your brain is working. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, be mindful of keeping avocado out of your dinner!
Other Foods To Avoid Near Bedtime
People often ignore food as a factor in how they can get better sleep, but it’s actually one of the most important things to keep in mind. What you choose to eat and drink not only close to bedtime, but also throughout the day, will affect how you sleep throughout the entire night. Of course, there are other lifestyle factors that you should look at when you’re trying to improve your sleep, but diet is an important and easy place to start. Some other foods you want to limit or avoid include:
Sugar. Sugar, which includes natural sugars found in fruit and fruit juices, reduces the activity of orexin cells, which allow the brain to produce dopamine. Dopamine will excite your brain, which keeps you from sleeping. Having too much sugar throughout the day is also problematic, as when your dopamine levels wear off, you’ll have a sugar crash that can make you nap frequently throughout the day. This is another factor that makes it hard to sleep at night.
Dairy. Although milk contains tryptophan, which can make you sleepy, dairy products in general can increase your mucous production and make it thicker. This can cause breathing difficulties and nasal congestion that can disrupt your sleep.
Spicy Foods. Spicy foods can give you heartburn and indigestion. Your digestive system slows down when you go to sleep, so it can have an especially hard time digesting foods that may cause discomfort.
Caffeine. Of course, you want to avoid caffeinated coffee, tea, or soda before bed, but make sure you look out for other food and drink sources that contain caffeine. Dark chocolate, for instance, contains caffeine. That means watch out for anything flavored with chocolate as well, such as ice cream.