Avoid certain foods for a couple of hours before you go to bed if you want a good night’s sleep.
Carbs (pasta, rice, bread):
It’s widely believed that carbs help you sleep, but the opposite may be true, Dale says. ‘Carbohydrates might bring you down a little bit, but if your meal is high in carbs, it also means it’s high in sugar — and that would not be good at the end of the day.’
Coffee: Depending on your own caffeine sensitivity, caffeine can stay in your system for about six hours. It’s advisable not to have too much caffeine or other stimulants after 2 pm, and generally not to drink too much coffee throughout the day. ‘You don’t really need more than two cups per day,’ Dale says. ‘Even if you’re someone who boasts that you can have a double espresso just before bed, be careful: you may not struggle to fall asleep, but the spike of caffeine can still cause interrupted sleep.’
ON THE FENCE
Red Wine: A group of Italian scientists found that many grapes used to make red wine contain quite high levels of melatonin, a hormone that signals to your body that it’s time to sleep, but they have yet to establish whether the melatonin is present in the wine itself. Franco Faoro, who co-authored the study, points out that anyway, when it comes to sleep, ‘The effect of the alcohol in red wine would certainly be much more of a determinant.’
In other words, don’t start glugging a glass before bed just yet!
Herbal teas: Teas like chamomile, rooibos and honeybush do not contain any caffeine, and many people find them calming. They can also help with digestion, easing your brain and body into a relaxed state for sleep. Keep in mind that teas like peppermint and ginger are known to have a stimulating effect.