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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

More by this author

Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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