Don't do List for a Good Night's Sleep

Don't do List for a Good Night's Sleep

by: Arlene Gentallan

1. Don't sleep with the lights on!

        You may have already notice that you sleep better when the lights are off (except if you have nyctophobia.) There's a science behind this. The pineal body of your brain starts to produce melatonin 2 hours before you typically sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

        The lights you see with your eyes plays a crucial role for your brain to determine which is day and which is night. Artificial light comming from your cellphone, television, and computer can impede your brain's production of melatonin "the sleep hormone", thus giving you a hard time falling asleep.

Fun fact: Melatonin is extremely sensitive to light. Blue wavelength light impedes melatonin production, while red wavelength light promotes it's production.
Now you know why it's better to sleep with dim lighting.

2. Clear away from caffeine and nicotine

        Do yourself a favor. Avoid stimulants like coffee, tea, soda, soft drinks, cigarette, and tobacco. Don't consume these starting late afternoon so you can get a good night sleep.

3. Avoid alcohol 

        Alcohol is a sedative, but that doesn't mean that it will give you a refreshing sound sleep in the long run. Better avoid alcoholic drinks for a good night sleep.

According to the study by Stein, M and Friedmann, P:

"Behavioral studies suggest that up to 2 to 3 standard drinks before bedtime initially promotes sleep, but these effects diminish in as few as 3 days of continued use. Clinical investigations support a relationship between sleep disturbance and alcohol use..."

4. No Dark Chocolate before bedtime

        Dark chocolates contain caffeine and theobromine which acts a cardiac stimulant and diuretic. That'll give your trouble sleeping. Also, cocoa contains theobromine so it's also better to save this treat for tomorrow after you wake up:)

5. Avoid spicy foods

        Spicy foods are irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and are commonly caused of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.) You don't want to lay and down and wake up in the middle of the night with an excruciating heartburn.

6. Avoid high-fat foods

        Fatty foods takes time to digest. Also, there's association made with the neuropeptide orexin (aka. hypocretin) which keeps us awake and increases our appetite and food cravings.

        A research on rats presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) showed that high-fat intake is associated with increase fragmented sleep and daytime drowsiness.

In a study by St-Onge, Roberts, Shechter, et al. they concluded that:
"Low fiber and high saturated fat and sugar intake is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals."

7. Don't overeat before bedtime

        This will make you feel bloated. You'll increase your risk of indigestion and gastric reflux. It will be wise to use your sleeping hours to rejuvenate and restore your body, rather than digesting all the stuffs you've eaten.

In a study by Crispim, Zimberg, dos Reis, et al, it was concluded that:

" intake during the nocturnal period is correlated with negative effects on the sleep quality of healthy individuals. Indeed, food intake near the sleeping period (dinner and late night snack) was negatively associated with sleep quality variables."

8. Should I avoid sugary foods during bedtime?

        Foods loaded with sugar like sweets, candies, and cakes can spike up your blood sugar and give you an energy boost. Which your internal body mechanism will then have to normalize by secreting regulatory hormones like insulin. Once normalized, it shouldn't have much effect on your sleep. But some say that the hormonal response this sugary treats induce may in turn drain your blood sugar while you sleep, resulting to a diminished quality of sleep and higher incidence of daytime drowsiness.

        They say each person may have varying sensitivity to sugar.

        Since there are contradicting testimonies when it comes to sugar and sleep, I suggest you test the water. Take note of sugar's effect on your sleep and avoid it if it's a cause of your sleepless night.