Everyone knows about the “Halloween Effect.” Kids eat tons of candy, get wound up, and bounce off the walls. Most parents think that it’s the sugar that creates this effect, but it’s actually a combination of sugar and the artificial ingredients in most of those candies.
So, like your kids, don’t get all hopped up on foods that disturb your sleep. For adults, these include sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
First of all, caffeine can take between 4 to 6 hours to be processed by your body. So avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before you plan to go to bed. If you come to the end of an evening and would just love love love a cup of coffee to end the meal, just make it a decaf.
Sugar during and after your dinner can interfere with your sleep. Its impact on your insulin response system can create cravings that make it harder for you to stay asleep during any given evening. Cutting back on sugar is good for you for a hundred reasons, and now you can add your good night’s sleep to that list!
Alcohol is deceptive. At first it makes you sleepy, so it’s natural to think that it might be good for your sleep. But, this is actually not the case, because alcohol can interfere with your REM sleep waves, making them shorter in duration and shallower in depth. For you, this means you may fall asleep quickly, but you’re much more likely to be wide awake at 2:30 in the morning. So, if you have wine with your meal, for example, keep that to 1-2 glasses.
And despite the perpetual rumor that turkey (due to its amino acid tryptophan) will put you into a narcoleptic coma, this is just not true. So there are no foods that help facilitate sleep. But if you eat real food, in control, and keep away from the three sleep inhibitors above, you’ll increase your chances of sleeping well all night long.