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Don’t Want Another Sleepless Night? Avoid These 8 Foods

Don’t Want Another Sleepless Night? Avoid These 8 Foods

Everyone knows that our health is largely determined by our diets. But you may not realize that what we eat can affect whether we can sleep tight at night. Actually, there are some foods that disrupt our sleep, making us one of the many insomniacs in the world (30%) lying sleepless and restless! [1]

Nightcaps may sound so cool in books and movies, but in real life, all they do is keeping you awake. As long as you stick to one small drink of alcohol for women and two small for men, it’s fine. More than that usually tends to cause random awakenings [2] at night – leaving you sleepless and tired.

Coffee is another drink you need to stay awake, not fall asleep. Caffeine and its derivatives are stimulants [3] – so unless you want to stay awake to finish that report or assignment, keep that cuppa away.

Want to know what other foods we are talking about? Read on…

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1. Roughage Is Good, Just Not At Bed Time

High-fiber foods are great for health (in moderation) for they aid in good digestion and help in weight loss as they also make you eat less. [4]

However, eating a late dinner with high-fiber foods such as lentils, beans, peas or oatmeal may not make for restful sleep. A late dinner followed by immediate bedtime means you haven’t let the food be digested and your tummy is likely to rumble and grumble its disapproval through the night, leaving you sleepless.

2. More Veggies? Thanks, I’ll Pass

Leafy or green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, beans and even garlic are good for health but they are also diuretic in nature, [5] meaning they help the body expel toxins via urination.

So eating a hefty helping of these at dinner means you might need a bathroom break at night, and end up having a disturbed sleep as a result

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3. Red Meat At Night, No One’s Delight!

While many experts believe that red meat should be shown the door for good, still others believe that lean meat is, in fact, a great source of protein and good to eat in moderation (but it still has a high fat content too). However, high-protein foods like meat need time to be digested well.

Wading through a steak before snooze time may leave you lying sleepless in bed till the wee hours of the morning with general discomfort, bloating and even cramping. [6]

4. Sugar & Spice, Not So Very Nice

Sodas, sugary drinks or cocktails, and even that bowl of ice-cream may sound like comfort food on days that you are tired but in fact is anything but.

Sugar gives your body a rush of energy [7] – so eating anything that’s giving you a second wind just before bedtime is unlikely to let you, or your body, be at rest. And you’ll be extra tired in the morning because of being sleepless.

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5. Add Some Spice! But Not Too Much Please

While hot food is said to be an aphrodisiac, you better believe that it’s no sleep inducer. Spicy and peppery food irritate the stomach lining which in turns wakes up your brain – meaning you get poor sleep.

6. Frying Up Some Goodies, No Can Do

Fritters, fries and all things deep-fried and nice? Avoid high-fat foods for dinner for the same reason you would avoid a high-protein plate.

The stomach needs to work extra hard to break down and digest the grease – and it can do this best while you’re up and active. If you fall asleep after this heart attack disguised as a meal; expect heartburn, cramping, bathroom trips and morning fatigue.[8]

7. A Chocolate Lover? Have It For Lunch Instead

Eating chocolate can give you a runner’s high [9] with its cocktail of caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamide.

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It can get your heart rate up too. Not something you want when you are trying to snooze!

8. More Burger? No thanks, I’m Chickening Out

In this ever growing list of things to avoid for dinner; add in your favorite burger too and wish it a fond goodbye.

The high-protein chicken, high-carb bread and high-fat spread and fries all together make for a meal that just won’t sit well in your stomach [10] while you snooze. The solution is to eat your dinner early, and keep it as light and balanced as you can.

Now that you have a list of what not to over indulge in at night, have a glass of milk instead [11] to soothe those frazzled nerves. A soothing room and a happy stomach are all you need to avoid being sleepless.

Reference

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Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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