It is well-known that what we eat influences the quality of our sleep. It is even more important to eat well in the evening, because we go to sleep afterwards. Eating out a hamburger with friends coming out from work, eating a whole tablet of chocolate in front of the television, or eating too much on coming back late from work, they are not good habits. 

Why don’t we sleep well after having eaten late in the evening, or having eaten a lot or to having eaten a fat or sweet meal?
Which are the effects on health and on wellbeing if you sleep badly?
Which are the recommendations in order to sleep well and wake up completely restored?

Let’s see.

Why eating late it’s not good?
The body accumulates more fat. Recent studies have compared people eating late in the evening some food and people eating earlier the same kind of food. The former show more fat in their blood test.

This also represents a cardio-vascular risk for those people who would eat just before going to bed and after 10 p.m..
You may have some cramps or refluxes because of the lying down position in bed and therefore you may not sleep.
A bad digestion may wake you up during the night and therefore it may alter the quality of your sleep.

When you don’t sleep well, the whole body will suffer and you may become nervous, be in a bad mood and may not be able to focus well. Besides, the sleep regulates also our hormonal balance. The hunger hormone (the ghrelin) and the satiety hormone (the leptin) are produced while sleeping. If you don’t sleep well or don’t sleep enough, the two hormones are unbalanced: more ghrelin than leptin is produced. Then, you will be prone to eat more for compensating the lack of sleep or the bad sleep. You will eat more and sleep worse, in short you will find yourself in a vicious circle.
The stress hormone (cortisol) and the sleeping hormone (melatonin) are also regulated by the sleep. If they get unbalanced, the whole quality of your life will suffer.

Finally, the hemoglobin becomes rarer. This antibody protects the organism against bacteria, viruses and some toxins, therefore it is needed for a good immunity. As it is also produced during the sleep, you may become more vulnerable if you don’t sleep well. That’s why fatigue or stress can provoke illnesses.

In the long term, an irregular sleep or lack of sleep will increase the risk of depression, obesity, cardiac illnesses and diabetes. It is therefore fundamental sleeping well and also trying to pay attention to what you eat in the evening.

Try to privilege some foods rich in tryptophan and vitamin B2, because they make sleeping easier. The tryptophan, needed to produce the melatonin (the sleeping hormone) can be found in bananas, tuna, chickpeas, dates and milk. The vitamin B2, that also make sleeping easier, can be found in all dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese), green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and in asparagus.

Recommendations for a healthy evening meal:

  1. eating at least three hours before going to bed;
  2. eating slowly, without stress;
  3. eating up to when you start feeling full, not more;
  4. eating with moderation foods as pasta, potatoes, cheese;
  5. avoiding sauces, excessively salty or excessively sweet food;
  6. avoiding alcoholic and energising drinks and other stimulants like caffeine;
  7. it would be better to avoid smoking too;
  8. sugar gives immediately available energy, therefore avoid also sweet drinks, sweets in general, above all if you would eat them in front of the television.

Do you feel hungry before going to bed?

Someone say that it would be better going to bed being a bit hungry, also your shape would benefit. But if you cannot really make it, then eat a light yoghurt with no sugar, some walnuts, drink some warm milk or an herbal infusion. The good old chamomile is an excellent option.

Ready for this challenge?