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How to sleep: Limit 'stimulants' such as alcohol, chocolate and caffeine before bed

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The NHS says drinks that contain high amounts of caffeine include coffee, tea, colas and energy drinks. The Sleep Charity says: “Achieving a great night’s sleep can be affected by what you eat in the hours before bedtime. Certain foods are known to calm the brain and help promote sleep, so eating the right things in the evening is definitely part of the recipe for a good night’s kip.”

The organisation suggests people avoid eating a big meal and spicy food just before bedtime as it can lead to discomfort and indigestion.

It says: “Research also found that it brought about a change in body temperature which can confuse the brain, as core temperature naturally dips as bedtime approaches.

“Go easy on processed high carbs (bread, pasta and rice) that cause energy crashes and fatty foods as the stimulated acid production in the stomach can lead to heartburn and indigestion. Remember that excess eating leaves you sleepy.”

There are also some “stimulants” to avoid. It says: “Even if you know to avoid coffee and strong tea, you might be sabotaging your sleep with sneakier sources of caffeine, like chocolate.”

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Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours. Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day.

People with insomnia will regularly find it hard to go to sleep, and can wake up several times during the night and lie awake at night. Fortunately, some drinks can help people with their sleep.

If you have insomnia for less than three months, it is called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia.

For most, sleep problems tend to sort themselves out within about a month, according to the NHS.

“Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, while some life circumstances might make it more likely for your sleep to be interrupted, like stressful events or having a new baby,” it states.

If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you can talk to your GP.

The health body also says how we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older.

Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.



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