Friday, 03 February 2017

Sleepy Brits Turn to Curry, Burgers and CHIPS to Help them Nod Off

Millions of Brits are feeling deprived of sleep, yet still insist on curry, chips and a COFFEE before bed.

Experts say a late-night diet rich in spicy dishes, caffeine and high-protein foods are keeping us awake at night.

The study, commissioned by Simba Sleep, which quizzed 2,000 adults about the connection between their diet and quality of sleep, revealed that one in five think spicy foods like curry will help them to get a good night’s rest.

Over one in ten believe a cup of caffeinated coffee helps them to nod off, while almost half of Brits also reported that they regularly enjoy a boozy nightcap.

Sammy Margo, sleep expert and author of The Good Sleep Guide, said: “Although many of us understand the importance of nutrition during the day, the latest research from Simba Sleep clearly shows few of us are aware that certain foods can help to promote a more restful sleep.

“While particular foods and drinks may feel warming, those that are spicy, caffeinated, or high in fat and protein can play havoc with our sleep.”

“Lying down after eating a spice-laden meal can result in heartburn and a restless night. Fatty foods high in protein, like steak, digest slowly and may disturb our Circadian rhythm. Plus, whilst a nightcap can make you feel drowsy, excessive alcohol prevents you from getting into the deeper stages of sleep, and may make you feel groggy the next day.”

This onslaught of sugar and stimulants mean that the average adult manages just 6 hours and 28 minutes of shut-eye a night, and misses out on 6 hours and 10 minutes of sleep each week.

Biscuits are the nibble of choice for those craving a bite before bed, followed by toast. One in five night munchers get peckish for cheese and crackers, and a quarter reach for a bag of crisps.

But we aren’t all content with a quick biccie. One respondent found that half a jar of pickled onions before bed was just what he needed to send him off to a restful slumber, while another awoke one night to find that she had been snacking on cola cubes while she slept.

Turbulent thoughts are the most common cause of a sleepless night, with 53 per cent of Brits unable to stop their mind racing when the lights go out, and a quarter are kept up by soaring stress levels.

A fifth of Brits are snorers, 13 per cent suffer from leg cramps in the night, and 1 in 10 are kept up by their insomnia.

Over a quarter of those who said they often feel deprived of sleep have had a bad dream that they attribute to something they ate or drank that day, compared to seven per cent of those who often feel well-rested.

An adventurous five per cent of Brits have even intentionally tried to induce a weird dream or nightmare by eating and drinking things they think will stimulate their subconscious

Sammy Margo added: “It is interesting that respondents are citing a number of different areas for their sleep discomforts, from physical issues to the psychological. What we choose to eat most certainly has a physiological effect on us and this should be considered if you suffer from poor sleep health.

“Nutritional deficiencies can cause a poor night’s rest. Night-time leg cramps often occur due to a magnesium deficiency, while a deficiency in calcium, which helps to calm the nervous system, may cause you to wake more frequently during the night.”

Just 11 per cent of Brits have tried modifying their diet to see how it improves their quality of sleep. Of those actively attempting to improve their sleep health through diet, a calming cup of chamomile tea is their sleep aid of choice, followed by a glass of hot milk or some wine.

James Cox, co-founder of high-tech mattress firm Simba Sleep, who commissioned the study, said: “There is a delicate balancing act between a number of factors that could mean the difference between a restful and a restless night’s sleep. In fact, as our research shows, there is a disconnect between what we should and shouldn’t eat before we go to bed each night.

“In addition to selecting the right mattress, eating the right foods is essential in the science of getting the perfect night’s sleep. With the right approach to nutrition, lifestyle and comfort, sleep-deprived Brits can achieve a much needed long and enjoyable night’s rest.”


1. Curry and other spicy foods – 19.45%
2. Cheese and crackers – 14.00%
3. Hard cheeses – 12.90%
4. Bananas – 12.15%
5. Chocolate digestives – 9.90%
6. Burger – 9.55%
7. A sweet dessert – 9.25%
8. Chili – 9.10%
9. Walnuts/Almonds/other nuts – 8.85%
10. Steak – 8.65%
11. Chips – 8.05%
12. Dark chocolate – 7.75%
13. Broccoli – 7.45%
14. Lasagne – 7.25%
15. Milk/white chocolate – 7.25%
16. Fish/seafood – 7.10%
17. Apple – 7.10%
18. Salad – 7.05%
19. Honey – 7.00%
20. Eggs – 6.90%

What foods do you snack on before bed? Let us know on Twitter @theladymagazine

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