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Your dinner is early

Your dinner is early
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If your dinner is around 5pm and you don’t hit the hay until 11pm or later, hunger may interfere with your sleep. You might need a small snack a couple hours after dinner to send yourself to dreamland. “The perfect bedtime snack would be something like cheese and crackers,” says sleep specialist, Dr Michael Breus. Choose a hard cheese instead of a soft cheese, advises Dr Breus; hard cheeses are higher in tyrosine, a compound which helps with sleep. Your bedtime snack would ideally be 65 per cent carbs and 35 per cent protein and about 1050 kilojoules, suggests Dr Breus. A small bowl of cereal with low-fat milk is another great evening snack idea. But don’t eat too late at night or you could get heartburn or other health problems.

Don’t miss these top tips for a better night’s sleep.

You took an afternoon coffee break

You took an afternoon coffee break
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You might think you need the afternoon java fix to improve focus the last few hours of the day, but it takes six hours for your body to process and eliminate just half of the caffeine consumed. This stimulant can also cause nervousness and contribute to insomnia, according to the Sleep Health Foundation. Single doses of caffeine of up to 200 milligrams of caffeine daily is considered a moderate amount of caffeine. Many sleep experts suggest eliminating caffeine in the afternoon if you’re having falling asleep at night.

Find out which is better: coffee or a nap?

You enjoy a big dinner

You enjoy a big dinner
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Overeating can certainly make you feel uncomfortable, especially if you dine shortly before hitting the hay. The body was meant to digest food sitting or standing, not lying down, says Dr Breus. Lying down can make the digestive process can take longer, which disturbs slumber.

These are the foods to avoid if you have acid reflux or digestion issues.

You over-imbibed

You over-imbibed
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“Alcohol is the number-one sleep aid in the world,” says Dr Breus, “but it’s not a good one.” While alcohol makes you fall asleep, it keeps you out of the deeper stages of sleep, so half of the reason you wake up with a hangover is because you didn’t get that deep sleep and the other half is dehydration, Dr Breus says. We aren’t saying you can’t have a drink or two with dinner, but for every alcoholic beverage, have one glass of water. “You would want lights out to be probably three hours after your last alcoholic beverage to give your body the chance to digest it, so it’s not having that effect on your sleep,” he says.

These are the types of insomnia that can keep you up at night.

Your dinner is spicy

Your dinner is spicy
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You might want to avoid spicy foods a few hours before hitting the hay as they can cause heartburn or indigestion. “When you go from standing to lying down, gravity isn’t your friend and [those spices] can go into your oesophagus and then you get reflux, which can be disruptive to your sleep as well,” says Dr Breus. “Also, there is some data to show that eating spicy food may cause a higher proclivity for nightmares,” says Dr Breus.

Find out which things you should do all day long for better sleep tonight.

Your diet’s too strict

Your diet’s too strict
Your diet’s too strict

While new research in JAMA Internal Medicine claims that people who “fasted” for two years (by slashing 25 per cent of their daily kilojoules) lost about 10 per cent of their body weight and reported sleeping better, that strict style of eating isn’t for everyone – and not eating enough could lead to trouble sleeping at first. “You don’t want to go to bed hungry, that will absolutely prevent you from being able to fall asleep,” says Dr.Breus. Hunger pains and anxiety that can come with them can keep you awake. “I have patients who either have eating disorders or who are super dieters and they can lie in bed and start to think, ‘What did I eat today? What did I not eat today?’ It raises that level of anxiety and makes it very difficult to fall asleep.”

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You’re missing out on sleep-inducing foods

You’re missing out on sleep-inducing foods
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Consider making an evening smoothie with tart cherry juice concentrate, bananas, kiwis, and ice. Bananas contain magnesium, which helps with sleep, tart cherry juice concentrate can help increase melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone), and kiwi fruit raises the level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a hormone that helps calm the body and mind.

Check out these foods that you should never eat before bed.

You had ice cream before bed

You had ice cream before bed

Indulging in high-fat dairy foods could interfere with your sleep, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Low-fibre, high-fat, and high sugar diets were associated with sleep arousal and less restorative sleep. Foods high in fat also can slow down digestion, leading to gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD), which can interfere with sleep, says dietitian Lisa Stollman. “Fat leaves the stomach last, after proteins and carbohydrates, so avoiding foods rich in fat close to bedtime is a smart choice.” Is chocolate or coffee-flavoured ice cream especially likely to keep you awake? Not if you practise portion control, says Dr Breus. You’d have to have a lot of chocolate at night (think almost two kilos) or three large scoops of coffee-flavoured ice cream for those foods to act as stimulants and impact sleep, he says.

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Source: RD.com

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