Many of us seem to consistently come up short on the amount of energy needed to enjoy a full day. While there are dozens of origins of fatigue, the most obvious one is frequently neglected. Without a good night’s sleep, fatigue the following day is almost ensured. Insomnia is not only the most logical cause for feeling tired, but it is also the most common. Sometimes, it is as simple as avoiding four different types of food to help with an uninterrupted, deep and restful night’s sleep.
A sleep disorder that describes trouble falling and/or staying asleep, insomnia usually causes one or more of these symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking during the night and being unable to fall back asleep
- Waking up too early
- Feeling tired upon waking
Those with insomnia typically are generally tired, irritable and have difficulty concentrating. Some people have a medical condition that causes their insomnia (secondary insomnia), while others’ sleeplessness is not connected with any other health problems (primary insomnia).
For those experiencing the symptoms of primary insomnia, chemicals from several foods could be contributing to an inability to sleep restfully and – thus – feeling sluggish and tired during the day. This is especially true of people who reach for a late night snack consisting of any of the following four food categories:
Chinese Food – Unless specifically stated otherwise, Chinese food is one of the most likely cuisines to use monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a flavor-enhancing additive. In some people, MSG over stimulates stimulatory receptors in the brain in a way that is known to interfere with sleep.
Deli Meat – Preserved meats, like salami, spam, bacon or ham, contain a high level of the amino acid tyramine. Excess tyramine triggers the brain to release norepinephrine – a stimulating chemical that discourages sleep.
Pizza – Despite Americans’ fondness for this favorite late night fare, pizza is known to interrupt many people’s slumber. Because traditional pizza sauce is fairly acidic, reflux and heartburn may surface after eating a slice or two. Especially because these discomforting symptoms worsen when lying down, eating acidic foods before bed can make falling asleep a challenge.
Nightcap – An alcoholic drink consumed just before bed, a nightcap is supposed to be a folk remedy for insomnia. Unfortunately, this usually backfires. Although alcohol initially aids sleep, it actually perpetuates sleeping problems soon after. Alcohol interferes with deep sleep (a recipe for daytime fatigue) by impairing serotonin – a neurotransmitter required for sleep. In addition, alcohol prevents deep sleep because it is a diuretic, causing waking up during the night to urinate.
An estimated 10 to 25 percent of Americans have troubles with sleep. As one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue, not sleeping well can be extremely frustrating. Although there are so many possible causes of insomnia, many don’t realize that their late night kitchen raid could be a contributing factor. To reduce your appetite’s role in insomnia, avoid foods like egg fu yung, a salami sandwich or pizza and skip the hot toddy, shot of whiskey or glass of wine. By restricting these foods to an earlier time frame, you may find yourself sleeping better and, therefore, having more energy the following day.