Eating and drinking
Our survey also found that 11% believe that eating cheese before bed gives you vivid dreams or nightmares. But according to Dr Ranj, there is little evidence to support this. He says, “For most people, eating cheese has no effect at all, and for others it may actually be associated with more pleasant dreams. Plus, cheese is a source of B vitamins that can help you sleep.”
Our survey also revealed that, typically, people leave two hours in between eating and going to bed, and just over an hour in between a drink and sleep. Dr Ranj recommends eating your last meal of the day a few hours before bed, at around 7:00 pm. He comments, “Having a small snack before bed is usually fine. However, eating a large meal too close to bedtime could keep you awake as it may make it uncomfortable to lie down as well as cause indigestion or heartburn."
Almost half believe that water is the best drink to have before bed, while 22% opt for milk and 17% think chamomile tea is the safest option. Dr Ranj also recommends a malted milk drink before bed which can help boost melatonin, the hormone that helps you drift off and regulate the body’s sleep wake cycles. Be careful about drinking too close to bedtime though, as it could mean trips to the toilet during the night!
The study also found that just 19% believe their overall diet affects how well they sleep, and only a tenth feel the same about smoking. Dr Ranj says, “Smoking undoubtedly affects our breathing, lung health, and overall health which can have a direct impact on the quality of our sleep.”