For most people, bedtime can be a signifier of both good and bad things.
In the context of good, finally getting some ZZZs means taking a break from the grind, repairing and refreshing your mind and body. Bedtime is something to look forward to as it gives the body the energy boost it needs to take on another packed day of activities.
On the other hand, many consider sleep the devil because they believe it represents wasted time that could be used for other things. Contrarily, many have a certain apprehension towards bedtime because it is one where cravings are most alive—and this brings us to our topic of the day:
Why Does It Matter What You Drink?
Unless your body can plop down once the clock strikes ten or midnight, you’re probably familiar with just how bad cravings can get during bedtime.
Whether it’s a slight craving for a milkshake or a hunger for a pack of chips, the desire to eat or drink something extra before bed can be irresistible. Like any other mortal, you’re quite prone to giving into the desire to satiate your hunger or thirst during ungodly hours.
The problem, however, is that people don’t understand that what they drink before they hit the hay can either serve or hamper their slumber.
What Should (And Shouldn’t) You Drink before Sleeping
When it comes to figuring out what you should drink before bedtime, there are good and bad options that you should be aware of. At Sleep Better Live Better we want to asses anything that can significantly hamper sleep quality, and what we consume is a large part of that!
If you’re looking to improve the quality of your slumber by drinking the right beverages before bed, here’s a quick rundown of what you should (and shouldn’t) drink:
What You Should Drink:
Currently, there is a handful of recommended drinks that anyone looking to quench their thirst and even control their hunger) should consume before bedtime. Here are some of our favorite options:
Water – While water already has a reputation that precedes itself in terms of health, it is a critical sleep aid that you should prioritize. With zero calories and an unparalleled ability to prevent dehydration, taking a few sips before sleeping will help prime your body for ultimate relaxation—making it much easier to doze off! It is most important to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Trying to make up for poor hydration by consuming lots of water before bed can also trigger Nocturia, which is when you have to frequently wake up to pee during the night. The body naturally slows your kidney’s down at night to prevent a full bladder. Stay hydrated during the day and use water before bed to curb cravings.
Chamomile tea – As cliche as it may sound, chamomile tea is a preferred pre-sleep beverage for a reason. According to an October 2015 study by the Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers discovered that the brew in question is especially conducive to having a better slumber. This effect is credited to the fact that chamomile tea provides a soothing, warming effect that promotes relaxation in the body! There is a reason chamomile has been used as a sleep aid for thousands and years.
What You Shouldn’t Drink:
To avoid tossing and turning in bed, here’s what you need to stop consuming near bedtime:
Coffee – This is an obvious candidate for a host of reasons. It is chock-full of caffeine that will keep you up and make it so much harder to fall asleep. Additionally, you must avoid coffee because it’s a natural diuretic that will dehydrate you as you sleep. Also remember that caffeine in any beverage or food (chocolate, soda, coffee, tea etc) have a half-life of four hours in your body! We recommend avoiding all caffeine 6-8 hours before bed.
Alcohol – Another drink that Sleep Better Live Better’s sleep experts hope anyone avoids drinking before bed is alcohol. Although the common belief is that a swig or two is great for sleeping because it makes people drowsy, the reality is that alcoholic beverages of all kinds are notorious for disrupting sleep patterns! Alcohol depresses the central nervous systems and causes muscle relaxation that can make sleep disorders such as sleep apnea worse. It also reduces the amount of REM sleep you get, which is vital for memory and learning. We suggest having your alcohol before or with an early dinner, then switching to water or another non caffeinated, low sugar beverage for the hours leading up to bed.
Milk – While many of us grew up having a warm cup of milk and honey to help us fall asleep, milk and dairy can be very inflammatory for many people. Warm milk is comforting, but if you are prone to inflammation, we suggest avoiding it as it can constrict airways, cause discomfort and exacerbate conditions like sleep apnea. Skip the milk and go for that warm herbal tea instead!
Many different factors can determine whether your body is ready for a good night’s rest, and the beverages you drink have profound effects that you should be especially aware of. By watching out for the options mentioned above, you can get a good night’s sleep.
Are you looking for solutions for insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleeping issues? Sleep Better Live Better is a sleep clinic in North Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria that can help. We have found healthy and sustainable sleep solutions for thousands of patients. Book a consultation with us today!