A General Dentist Discusses How Food Can Impact Sleep

Posted on: March 1, 2017

General DentistAs a general dentist, it is important for me to tell patients how to improve their overall health and well-being. Many patients suffer from an inability to sleep through the night, lack the ability to fall asleep or wake up too early in the morning. This difficulty is often a result of the foods that one consumes at dinner or shortly before going to bed. By avoiding certain types of foods, patients can actually ensure that they get a full night’s sleep, undisturbed and completely restful to function at an optimal level the next day.

It may seem slightly strange to most people that the foods consumed at the dinner table or before bedtime could have such a vast effect on the ability to sleep. However, it is a scientifically proven fact that the contents of your stomach will often determine the level of sleep you are able to achieve.

Foods high in water content

Though seemingly weird, it is not counter-intuitive for a general dentist to encourage patients to avoid eating celery and other foods high in water content, before bedtime. Other foods that are considered to be high in water content include cucumbers, radishes, watermelons and other such consumables. While these are perfectly healthy, as a general dentist addressing sleep deprivation, it is important to understand that these foods are also natural diuretics.

Essentially, the problem with eating foods high in water content right before bed is that they will force a person to wake up and go to the bathroom during the night due to a full bladder. It is advisable that any of these types of foods not be eaten in the 90 minutes immediately prior to going to bed.

Tomatoes, cheese and red wine

Similarly, it is advisable to avoid a salad that is full of tomatoes. This is because tomatoes are rich in tyramine, an amino acid that is used to trigger brain activity. Tyramine is considered to be a stimulant that significantly boosts brain activity and therefore it is not advisable to have anything that is rich in tyramine during or immediately following dinner.

Other foods that contain this amino acid include soy sauce, cheeses like brie, red wine and eggplant. It is important to note that this also includes food like salsa and chips, which is a common evening snack. Salsa is high in tomato content, and many people will put beans and cheese on their chips. Additionally, salsa can cause heartburn.

Caffeine in coffee, tea and soda

Most people realize that it’s not a good idea to drink a stimulant like caffeine immediately before bed. However, as a general dentist, I have found that many people do not realize that caffeine sneaks into any number of food and drinks. While it is never advisable to drink coffee, tea or chocolate in the hours leading up to bedtime. It is also advisable to avoid products like root beer and lemon-lime soda.

These products are also extremely high in caffeine, which can be verified by looking at the label and list of ingredients and can also work to prevent sleep. It is advisable not to drink coffee, tea or soda at least four hours before it is time to go to bed.

Learn more

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Shelton to learn more.

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