When you stop and think about the number of people that have a hard time going to sleep or staying asleep at night, it’s disturbing, to say the least. Almost everyone has issues with sleep in one form or another. The problem is so bad that most people are running around completely sleep deprived and a number of them are already on some type of prescription or over-the-counter medication that’s supposed to help them sleep. When you consider the fact that doing anything in a sleep-deprived state is more debilitating than being intoxicated, it’s easy to realize how frightening this epidemic of sleep deprivation really is.
Important Background Information
People do all kinds of things in hopes of sleeping better. They put different bed sheets on the bed, they remodel their bedrooms to make the environment more relaxing, they play music that’s supposed to help them drift off to sleep and they use aromatherapy to calm themselves. Despite all of these things, many people still find themselves staring at the ceiling half the night. The thing you might not realize is that you could be sabotaging your own sleep because of habits that you’ve developed over the years, often without even realizing what you were doing to yourself.
Eating Before Bed
Most people think that having a snack before bed is completely harmless. It’s one of the worst things you can do when it comes to getting sleep you need. There’s the obvious problem of eating and then immediately going to sleep, effectively meaning that your body isn’t burning any of those calories because there is no activity going on. This can cause weight gain even if you don’t normally deal with weight problems. If you’ve struggled with your weight all your life, this is a habit that you need to break right away because it contributes in large part to your weight gain.
That isn’t the only problem that it causes either. In fact, eating right before you go to sleep can cause stomach upset, digestive issues that can become chronic over a longer period of time, and even muscle cramps. It can also keep you awake because of changes in metabolism. Your body is hardwired to digest the food that you eat for energy.
There wasn’t always a fast food restaurant on every corner or a microwave available where you could cook a pizza. People ate for energy and then they worked off that energy. Therefore, eating right before bed tells your body that you need to ramp up your energy in order to do something. That’s in direct contradiction to getting the sleep you need.
When Should You Eat?
It’s really best to eat a healthy meal that’s well-proportioned two to three hours before you go to sleep at a minimum. The more time that you can put between eating a full meal and sleeping, the better off you are. You don’t want to go to bed hungry, because that won’t allow you to sleep either. With that being said, you don’t want to take things too far in the other direction. Therefore, it’s imperative that you find a healthy balance and stick to it.
What about Snacking?
If you find that you’re too hungry to fall asleep, choose a small, healthy snack. Make sure that it’s just enough to make the hunger pangs cease so you can get some sleep. The most important thing you have to remember here is that this does not mean that you should devour an entire bag of potato chips or raid the refrigerator of everything in sight. Stay away from spicy foods and if possible don’t take more than a few bites. Whatever you do, refrain from making it a habit because you don’t want to be snacking right before you go to sleep each and every night.
It can be hard to find that balance when it comes to food and sleep. To a certain degree, it’s different for everyone. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important that you do find it. Otherwise, you might be struggling with nights that are more sleepless than relaxing and that’s something that your body simply can’t deal with in the long-term. That’s why it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid eating before you go to bed if at all possible.