If you give any credence to old wives' tales, you'll know that eating cheese before bed will give you horrible nightmares.
You may also, in your youth, have been soothed to sleep by a warm glass of milk or a piping-hot mug of Ovaltine.
But do the things we consume before bed really affect how well we sleep?
At Bedco, we know that a supportive, well-chosen mattress plays a huge role in the quality of shut-eye we enjoy, but we also appreciate that there's a plethora of other factors which can affect our all-important beauty sleep – from noise and heat, to stress and exercise.
Today, however, we're going to be taking a closer look at the impact of diet on our sleep quality – particularly the bedtime munchies we eat right before turning in. Do some foods keep you up? Do others help you sleep? The Bedco team investigate...
Very few foods include the chemical melatonin naturally. Cherries are one of the few which do, making them a great bedtime snack thanks to the internal clock-regulating effects of this “magic” sleep ingredient.
Eating a bowl of rice four hours before bed has been shown to halve the time it takes to fall asleep. That's because rice is high on the glycemic index, which means it takes a long time to digest, triggering a very slow release of energy over a long period.
More slow-release energy, this time in the form of scrummy sweet potatoes. The complex carbohydrates in this type of food are a dream for those hoping for a decent night's kip, while the potassium in the vegetable acts as a very mild muscle relaxant.
Complex fats and high quantities of sugars are stuffed into fast foods like pizzas and burgers. These are very tough for the body to process, which can seriously “eat into” your beauty sleep, not to mention your overall health.
Rich dark chocolate is packed with caffeine. Although the sugar content is less than in white and milk chocolate, dark chocolate before bed will keep caffeine-sensitive individuals awake, while the compound theobromine can also have caffeine-like effects.
It's not just hot curries which can keep you awake at night, it's any heavily spiced foodstuff. To make sure you're not tossing and turning, steer clear of hot foods before bed as they can trigger indigestion, while the capsicum found in hot foods is thought to affect your body's internal “thermostat”.
Which foods keep you awake and which ones send you to sleep? Share your stories with other readers on our Facebook page. To guarantee yourself a better night’s sleep, whatever you eat, explore amazing bedtime deals in the Bedco online shop. And why not take advantage of our 100-night mattress trial?