How to sleep: Dr Mosley says to avoid popular bedtime drink to feel ‘refreshed’
Dr Hilary Jones gives advice on how to sleep with coronavirus
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There may be various reasons why you can’t sleep, including irregular sleeping hours and even insomnia. But it could also be down to something really small that’s easy to change like having a certain drink before bedtime, according to Dr Michael Mosley. Even though this drink is often thought of as a go-to before sleep, it might be time to ditch it.
Dr Mosley has revealed that a cup of hot chocolate before bed may be a “bad idea” after all.
He explained why in his Daily Mail article: “Your pancreas, which produces insulin, will have closed down for the night, so it won’t be ready for the big sugar hit.
“This will cause your blood sugars to rise and keep on rising into the night, which is bad for sleep as well as for your body.”
Although warming and comforting, that’s exactly what hot chocolate is – a “big” hit of sugar.
In fact, the doctor advises against any sugary foods or drinks before bed so a bowl of cereal is also off-limits.
Dr Mosley said: “Any fat you consume will also cause fat levels in your blood to rise further and faster than they would earlier in the day and take longer to fall.”
This can leave you sleepless for longer than you’d like.
The doctor also indulged in a self-experiment to confirm this statement about fat levels rising faster during the night time.
Dr Mosley ate the same meal high in fat and carbs at 10am and 10pm to test this.
“Whereas my fat and blood sugar levels rose and fell quite quickly after the morning meal, in the evening they were both still rising well after midnight,” the doctor noted.
Another reason you might want to avoid hot chocolate close to your bedtime is phenylethylamine, The Sleep Charity states.
Phenethylamine is a chemical in this drink that causes a natural high which might affect your sleep.
Hot chocolate also contains caffeine. So, this drink is basically a mix of sugar, fat, natural-high chemical and caffeine.
It might be delicious but from its contents, you can probably tell it’s not ideal for a sleep routine.
According to the sleep charity, swapping hot chocolate for hot cocoa could work.
However, Dr Mosley advises avoiding any milk if you struggle with sleeping.
He penned: “Any protein in the food will cause your stomach to release acid.
“Particularly if you suffer from acid reflux, it’s advisable to stay away from anything but water in the two hours running up to bedtime.”
If you want to stay safe, the best option might be sticking to a glass of water.
In case you want to find out exactly what is troubling your sleep, the NHS recommends keeping a sleep diary that could point to any lifestyle habits or activities causing this problem.
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