If you've ever had a hard time sleeping right after meals, then there is something you've been doing wrong. Here are some of the reasons you might be having a hard time sleeping and how we might change that.
Have you ever gone to bed and found it challenging for you to fall asleep? And if you managed to sleep, you were so uncomfortable that you turn and toss for about four hours before you're finally able to sleep, albeit uncomfortably? Well, there is a reason why you felt that, and it's because you probably overate or you went to bed as soon as you were done with your meal.
If there's one thing, most physicians agree, it's that sleeping right after a meal is bad for your health and is, most likely, also the reason for your lack of sleep. Snacking before bed has many disadvantages such as stomach discomfort, restlessness, heartburns, bloating, and stomach aches more, especially if you take heavy meals and the need to go to the bathroom more frequently.
First Things First: How Does the Digestive System Digest Food?
The digestive system produces several enzymes and an acid that helps in the digestion of food. Once you eat your dinner, it first goes to the stomach, where it's broken down by Hydrochloric acid. The food then passes through to the small intestines where the essential nutrients are absorbed into your body. This whole process takes about three hours to complete- ibdclinic.ca
How is this Whole Process Linked to Sleep?
These are some of the symptoms you are likely to experience when you go to bed right after a meal.
The first thing you'll notice is a discomfort in your abdominal area, which will make it hard for you to fall asleep immediately. You'll have this feeling whether you had a light or heavy meal as long as you went to bed right after. The reason is that you haven't given your stomach enough time to physically and chemically break down the food into smaller parts that can be absorbed.
Heartburns are the result of applying pressure on your stomach when you lie down after a meal. When applied to your stomach, this pressure causes the digestive juices to be pushed back up into the esophagus, causing you to have heartburn. If left unchecked over a while, it might lead to a rare form of cancer- Wikipedia.
When you eat, you need to stay active to promote better digestion. When you stay active after a meal, your abdominal muscles will contract and relax, helping food move down the digestive tract and promote better digestion. If you go to sleep straight after a meal, you hinder this process making digestion harder, which may, in turn, cause you to feel bloated hence poor sleep.
What you eat before you hit the sack is also an essential factor when sleep is involved. If you eat fast food or foods that have artificial sweeteners before you go to bed, you may be hyperactive, which will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Taking sodas and high calory meals right before going to bed makes it harder for you to sleep right away because they are rich in sugar and additives. Sugar is quickly broken in your mouth and absorbed into the bloodstream providing your body with excessive amounts of energy that need to be eliminated before it can stay in-active for the night- sleep education.org.
So, What Should You Do to Avoid All This?
Take Your Meals At Least Three Hours Before Going to Bed
Your body is a mechanical machine, which means that its processes cannot be rushed. Therefore, taking your meals at least three hours before sleeping gives your body the time it needs to digest the meals and absorb the nutrients. If you do this, you won’t feel full when you go to bed.
Light Dinners, Heavy Breakfasts
Taking heavy meals when you go to bed makes it harder for your digestive system to break down the food and digest it. Heavy dinners are also counter-intuitive since your body needs minimal percentages of energy at night and more in the morning.
Taking light dinners also eases your body's digestive process making it easier for you to sleep. Therefore, you should take lighter meals at night and more decadent meals at the start of the day to provide your body with the energy it needs to operate during the day.
Eat Healthy Meals
Eating healthy is also the best way for you to enjoy a good night's sleep. You should eat whole meals and farm products that are easier for your body to digest. Aim to prepare more vegetables and proteins such as eggs and milk in your meal plans. Avoid eating a lot of meat.
Avoid Processed Snacks
Processed meals contain a lot of additives and artificial sweeteners. They are also more challenging for your body to digest and absorb. Cutting back on processed food will be a healthy decision for you and will also help you sleep better- sleepadvisor.org.
Instead, it would be best to eat easily digestible snacks with low calories, such as low-fat milk and yogurt. These snacks will be a healthy alternative for you and will also help you sleep better at night- Mayo clinic.
Eating right is excellent for your health. Apart from that, it also means eating the right foods at the right time and in the right quantities. Making these guidelines a part of your lifestyle will help you become better, healthier, and you'll get to enjoy your life.
Having a good night's sleep after a long day at work is an essential part of the day. It's when you are asleep that your body can re-energize, rejuvenate, grow, and take in the lessons you learned during the day. Therefore, you should take advantage of this critical time and make the most of it, as usual, sleep better, and feel fantastic!