The simple answer to the question of whether what you eat or drink can affect your sleep is yes. However, it is slightly more complex than that, for example there are some things that can help you to sleep and some that can have a negative effect on whether you get to sleep, or stay asleep. Also, the way in which they affect you can vary greatly as well. It can be easy to think that if you have big meal that will help you to sleep, as quite often after eating a big meal we feel drowsy and tired; however, this isn’t necessarily going to help you to sleep, the reason being that when you sleep you adopt a horizontal position which does not aid digestion and can give you an uncomfortable feeling which doesn’t help you sleep. Therefore, it is best to try and avoid eating a big heavy meal before you go to sleep. Another reason to not eat right for you go to sleep can be if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux; if you’re lying down then the acid in your stomach will obviously be able to reach the tip of your oesophagus much easier, which causes heartburn and acid reflux and can be painful and uncomfortable, preventing you from sleeping properly.
One thing that most of us will be aware of is how caffeine can affect our ability to get to sleep, it is a stimulant and will cause you to have trouble nodding off, and is best avoided. It is worth noting which products contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, various soft drinks as well as coffee flavoured sweets and ice cream. Caffeine isn’t the only culprit though, sugars and refined grains and also lead to an increase in the blood sugar levels which results in distorted hormone production from the overstressed organs which in turn leads to a poor quality sleep. Various allergens such as dairy products can also have an effect and are best avoided just before you go to bed, as is too much liquid which, apart from anything else, can make you need the toilet, obviously waking you up.
It is easy to think that alcohol is beneficial when it comes to sleeping: now, whilst this may be true at first, in that it does help you get to sleep, unfortunately, it ends up also lightening your sleep which means that you can wake up more easily disturbing your sleep – as well as finding that you can wake up earlier too Not everything can have a negative consequence, there is an ingredient called tryptophan which actually helps you to sleep better, particularly when mixed in the correct balance with plenty of carbohydrates. Foods that contain this ingredient include poultry, nuts, shellfish and seeds, so a chicken sandwich, making use of the tryptophan in the poultry and the carbohydrates in the bread, potentially will be bit beneficial when you try to get to sleep. So really is about avoiding the bad things and eating the good things, but remembering conditions such as heartburn can affect you too.