How to sleep: ‘Avoid’ salty, spicy, acidic foods – expert advice

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, the sweet spot is set to be between six and nine hours. However in this day and age, there can be plenty of things trying to hinder your rest.

From too much screen time that comes hand in hand with work from home to that annoying street light outside, there are factors that are out of your control.

Fortunately, one thing that is completely in your hands is your diet.

Sleep expert, Katherine Hall, has partnered up with a bed store Get Laid Beds to give advice to those struggling to nod off.

Her message is loud and clear; it might be time to switch up your diet as that could be “the key to unlocking issues with insomnia”.

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Although they pack tons of flavor, spicy, salty and acidic foods could be responsible for your restless nights, she explained.

Spicy foods

Ms Hall said: “Whether you’re a fan of covering your Nando’s with extra hot sauce or a spice hater that can barely stomach a jalapeno… for anyone struggling to sleep, avoid spicy foods altogether.

“Digesting the various spices and chillies you have in your curries or other hot dishes can severely disrupt our body’s ability to thermoregulate, which essentially means managing our temperature.”

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The very chemical responsible for that kick of fire you can taste called capsaicin is what causes your temperature to “sky rocket”.

When you put the amount of energy your body needs to digest your meal into the mix, you get a night full of struggle to get a solid sleep.

Salty Food

The sleep expert noted: “This can often go under the radar when we talk to people about their nutrition and sleep. While some are obvious such as high sugar intake, salt can be overlooked.

“If you can’t fall asleep or struggle to stay asleep, salt could be the root of the issue.”

Food packed with sodium, including popular snacks such as crisps and salted nuts, make you hold onto fluid, which is a guaranteed recipe for an increased blood pressure.

This makes it difficult for your body to “switch off” and you are left with so called “superficial sleep”.

She explained what that means: “The sleep isn’t very deep and can often involve disturbances like going to the toilet more, as studies show this can be brought on more by too much salt in the diet.”

Acidic foods

Fortunately, this one might come as a disappointment for the “lovers of a glass of red wine shortly before bed”.

Ms Hall said: “If we take a deep dive into certain acidic foods, those struggling to sleep will want to avoid some more than others.

“Tyramine is an amino acid that is normally a great addition to anyone’s diet as it stimulates natural brain activity.

“For those of us looking to get more sleep, however, it’s something to avoid completely if possible. As tyramine stimulates the production of norepinephrine, triggering the ‘fight-or-flight’ response and sending your body into a hyper-aroused state.

“Foods that are high in tyramine include tomatoes, aubergines, soy sauce, red wine and cheeses.”

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