Ditch these 9 foods/drinks : They could be your insomnia causes!

image of man pouring alcohol

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Ditch these 9 foods/drinks : They could be your insomnia causes!

1 Alcohol

One of the real surprises for me once I learnt I had Chronic Insomnia, was the fact that there wasn’t really a single reason my Insomnia, but a whole series of events and circumstances that led me to become an Insomniac and to search for my Insomnia Causes.

People would say to me “Why don’t you just get drunk?” and I would sometimes do just that, trying desperately to avoid the terrible consequences of staying awake all night, The racing pulse, the tightness in the chest, the lethargy & tired feeling throughout the next day. But I quickly learnt that Alcohol isn’t the Holy Grail of great sleep that most people think it is. Yes, it knocks you out, But, and it’s a very big But, it then wakes you up and because it’s a Depressant. It blocks your REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is when you are in the deepest sleep and most restorative sleep, when your immune system is most at work, so it’s a very important time during your sleep process and Alcohol is waking you up just at the worst time.

The other problems with drinking Alcohol are Alcohol dependence and weight gain. I can confirm how easy it is to become alcohol dependant. Although I would say I was never an alcoholic, I did at one time become dependant on it for getting to sleep. I had no idea it was waking me up and making things worse, so I know how easy this is. I was also increasing my weight because most alcohol is full of calories. In my case a glass or 3 of wine produces an extra 250 calories per glass. 4 glasses and you have 1000 extra calories that I really didn’t need. Plus all the other side effects. Headache, Bad Stomach, extra bathroom trips, excessive snoring etc.

So what can you do? Well, try other methods of getting to sleep. I really don’t think the initial delight of dropping off is worth it, if you are awake half the night feeling worse than when you don’t drink. This is my feelings on the subject, so Alcohol is definitely my Number in my list of Insomnia Causes!

2 Caffeine

Coffee & Sleep

I used to love a cup of Coffee, as I know it’s good for your Liver! Something to do with the actual Coffee Beans having antioxidants in them.

However, there is a downside to Coffee and one that means I can no longer take it after 6pm. It’s a stimulant that increases your heart rate and BP. It also takes 6 hours to get half of it out of your body, so if you take a Coffee at 8pm, it is still vigorously working away at 1 am when you are sleeping or should be. It also reduces REM sleep just when you need it. Coffee has also given me palpitations and missed heartbeats which when investigated, I was told is a common symptom of Coffee drinkers.

I do still have the occasional cup but if you can do without it, I would. The Caffeine part of it far outweighs any goodness gained from it, in my opinion. Of course, your body may be different and maybe Coffee doesn’t affect you the way it does me, but in general, my experience has been negative when it comes to Coffee versus My Sleep & Healthier.

My suggestion is ditch the Coffee if you can and have an ice relaxing cup of Chamomile Tea instead

3 Chocolate

Again, finding this out was a disaster for me as I also love chocolate! I would often have a bar before bed and then wonder why I was still awake at 2am (maybe the chocolate maybe not)

The problem is Chocolate contains Caffeine. One particular brand contains 3 times the amount of Caffeine than in a medium cup of Coffee, so it’s no wonder it’s a surprise to people when they are told it could be their favourite bar of chocolate keeping them awake. I have learnt to go without mostly although I may sometimes have one small bar at dinner time. That leaves plenty of time to get out of my system and I no longer see it has a massive issue.

4. Soft Drinks

Pepsi, Diet Coke, Fanta- all the same. I know, once again, this is exactly the sort of thing I drink, quite often, sometimes 4 a day (yes, I know) then I am awake at 2am wondering what’s going on, well, what’s going on is that these drinks all have Caffeine in them and worse still, the non diet ones have so much sugar, they raise the risk of Diabetes just on their own. “But Hey, what about Diet drinks” I hear you ask, well, I am a great believer that the stuff they put in instead of sugar will one day come back to haunt us. There are many studies on this. One recent study said that one can of diet soda can triple the risk of heart disease, stroke and Dementia, compared to those who didn’t drink it. I mean, that’s quite a statement. Problem is people on a diet won’t touch the sugary drinks, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle again.

I think the answer for me was moderation. Previously, I have had so many cans or glasses of this stuff, but now I just have the one Caffeine Free drink in the whole day. I use water much more.

5. Sugar

image of sugar

Again, I know I keep saying this, but I love all sugary stuff and Yes, I am overweight. And yes, that could have been a reason for my Insomnia Causes, but I can’t help it. Give me a Cake or a bun and I will eat it. Of course, I do my best not to buy one at the shop, but one relative of mine brings one every week and I have never been able to say no. So I know how difficult it is to deny yourself something that feels that good. What I will say, is you have to try. The sugar in all the starchy products is considered a refined Carbohydrate, so Cereals, Yogurts, Orange juice, Pasta, Bread are all Refined Carbs or bad Carbs as people call them.

Bad Carbs mess with your insulin, this creates a chemical reaction by your body to produce Cortisol and adrenaline to counteract the Sugary Carbs or your body would crash. This leads to increased pulse, palpitations, lethargy and other nasty symptoms. Add the fact that your also gaining weight and interrupting your good sleep, and you have a bad situation occurring.

What do I do about it? What I do is moderate my intake of sugar. I try to only have 2 portions of Bad Carbs a day, whether that be a small cake after some pasta, o some juice after potato meal. Obviously if you can, try to cut down on them totally as they don’t seem to have any health benefits as far as I can see. And Obviously don’t eat Bad Carbs just before bed as all those earlier problems could stop you sleeping.

6. Spicy Foods like Curry

I know this ones a bit obvious, but just in case some folk are still eating Curries and kebabs on their night out, along with Alcohol, then going to bed thinking they will get a great nights sleep. Well, you might, but I doubt I would. Spicy Food means one thing to me and one thing alone-Indigestion. And I mean terrible Indigestion. I have a whole 5 packets of Indigestion tablets in my cupboard and I don’t even eat Spicy food late at night. I sometimes have spicy foods early evening, but I would have thought 6 hours is enough to be digested probably, but not for me. Maybe it’s my metabolism or something, but I do really get it bad. Once I have it, I don’t sleep very well unless my Indigestion tablets kick in. Maybe I have Acid Reflux or something like. But anyway, I am going to try to keep off the spicy food, but hey, you gotta have some pleasures in life ain’t yer?

7. Fermented Foods like Salami, Sausages, Soy Sauce

I can’t say that I eat a great deal of fermented foods, or that they are high on my list of Insomnia Causes, but I have read that some people suffer Insomnia because of them. Tyramine is an Amino Acid that creates Brain Activity after eating any Fermented food. Obviously Brain Activity is not good at Bedtime, so I would try to avoid. When I looked up Fermented on Google, it said good things about Bacteria and your gut, so I don’t think they are necessary bad, but just not before bed maybe?

8. Vegetables

This surprised me a tad, but then again, they are diuretics which mean full of water so could potentially keep you tripping to the loo throughout the night. They also create Gas in your digestive system. Just think of Brussels Sprouts at Xmas and you’ll get the idea. Probably not the best idea if you want a good nights restful sleep maybe.

9. Red Meat

image of red meat

They say that red meat takes a long time to digest, which I believe means indigestion may well set in. This probably answers my earlier question as to why I was still having Indigestion from my spicy foods even though they were taken 6 hours before bed. If red meat takes longer to digest, it may be this rather than the spiciness causing me the problems. Might be something for you to think about.

It’s also said that red meat is high in proteins, which has been linked to sleep apnea. This is where the person stops breathing for an amount of time, causing sleeplessness.

End Thoughts

If you read my Blog 9 foods that help you sleep better & through the night time, you might have noticed the difference. I’m a lot more sure that most of these foods prevent your good nights sleep than I am the good foods aid it. I suppose it’s because I have a lot more experience with the prevent sleep foods/drinks. I also can’t prove the good foods actually work all the time, but I’m pretty sure these bad ones do!