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​What not to eat or drink shortly before bedtime

According to Southern Cross Healthcare, New Zealanders have some shocking sleep statistics. Almost 25% of us wake every morning feeling tired or fatigued, and this number rises to 36% for those under 30. No surprises that 1/10 of us have fallen asleep at the wheel!

Question: Would you rather have a full night’s sleep or a big night out? Well, around 80% of New Zealanders are more excited by the full night’s sleep option - a tell-tale sign many of us have a sleep routine that’s less than ideal.

Snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea (or apnea) and insomnia is the most common culprits of poor sleep, but by cutting out certain foods or drinks after midday can also help with your quality of sleep.

Your body’s job is to repair itself overnight. So, if it must work hard to digest your food instead of winding down in preparation for sleep it can stop you from feeling relaxed.

Caffeine

We don’t think anyone is surprised to see caffeine on the list, but it's worth mentioning caffeine stays in your system long after the ‘buzz’ has gone. About 5 hours longer. Experts recommend a caffeine cut-off time of 1-2pm so when it’s time for shut-eye your body is no longer on the caffeine high. If you feel like a flat white around 3pm, opt for a decaf version instead.

Dark Chocolate

The darker the chocolate the more caffeine it holds. Make dark chocolate your after-lunch treat, not a chocolate-with-Netflix evening treat.

A big meal

Overindulged at the restaurant or late-night takeaways? Ever noticed how you don’t sleep as well on a full stomach? That’s because you need to sit up for proper digestion, even though you’re probably keen to lie down!

If you have consumed a lot of high-fat foods, these foods are stealing the energy your body needs to repair itself and using that energy to digest the fat. Basically, your body is working hard when it should be slowing down.

Going to bed hungry

On the flip side, going to bed when you’re starving isn’t the best either. Snacking on wholegrain and protein foods will help keep tummy rumbles at bay. Crackers, nuts or peanut butter are good examples.

Other good bedtime habits include:

1.Going to bed and getting up at the same time.

2.Not exercising too late at night.

3.Reading instead of external stimuli eg: television and computers.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, think about writing a food diary for a couple of weeks and see where the problem areas are for you. If you’re constantly waking up tired, talk to your doctor for more advice.