How to sleep: Three drinks to avoid before bed if you want to improve sleep quality

How to sleep: Three drinks to avoid before bed if you want to improve sleep quality

Dr Michael Mosley on the importance of routine for sleep

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We are all aware of the power of sleep for a person’s overall health and mood. When your sleep is impacted it can do more than just put you in a bad mood for the day. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, reduced immune system function and lower sex drive. What you drink prior to slumber can greatly impact the quality of your sleep.

Soda

Drinking soda before bed will greatly impact your sleep.

Sodas are loaded with caffeine and lots of sugar.

The caffeine can make it hard to fall asleep, and the sugar may affect your ability to stay asleep.

One study found that people who have a high daily intake of sugar have more arousals from sleep during the night.

Water

“In healthy young adults, your urine output is lower at night than during the day,” said Sleep Education.

The health site added: “This helps prevent you from waking up during the night to use the bathroom.

“Drinking too much water in the evening may disrupt this balance.

“You should drink plenty of water during the day to prevent dehydration.

“Then drink less water in the evening to avoid trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.”

Wine

Enjoying a glass or two of wine in the evening is common practice among many but this is known to wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns unfortunately.

This is largely down to a disruption in the circadian rhythm.

While a person may fall asleep quickly after drinking, it’s also common to wake up in the middle of the night.

Alcohol affects the normal production of chemicals in the body that trigger sleepiness when you’ve been awake for a long time and subside once you’ve had enough sleep.

What is the circadian rhythm?

Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes.

“One of the most important and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle,” explained the Sleep Foundation.

The health charity continued: “Different systems of the body follow circadian rhythms that are synchronised with a master clock in the brain.

“This master clock is directly influenced by environmental cues, especially light, which is why circadian rhythms are tied to the cycle of day and night.”

When properly aligned, a circadian rhythm can promote consistent and restorative sleep.

Drinks that could aid a better night’s rest include:

  • Warm milk
  • Almond milk
  • Malted milk
  • Valerian tea
  • Decaffeinated green tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Herbal tea with lemon balm.

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