Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. It essentially disrupts sleep patterns and causes the individual suffering from it to be tired during the day. When you are not fully rested, it can have serious consequences. For example, if you don’t get enough sleep and have a lot of driving to do during the day, you could have a mishap from not paying enough attention to what you are doing. For workers who have jobs that entail a lot of detailed work or the use of heavy machinery, not sleeping well can result in workplace accidents or injuries.
Not getting the right amount of sleep each night is bad for your health and wellbeing. One way to prevent problems during the day from sleeplessness is to watch what you eat. There are foods to avoid with sleep apnea and in this article, we will take a look at what those foods are.
Why You Should Avoid Foods That Cause Sleep Apnea
The things you eat at night have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. Many foods assist with relaxing the body so that you can get a good night’s sleep. However, some foods can disrupt your bodily functions to where falling asleep will be difficult or you may end up waking up frequently during the night. We will examine the latter here as foods that should be avoided will have a great impact on the quality of sleep you can have at night. Foods that can hamper the ability to sleep well are those that are generally considered to be heavy meals.
These are meals that contain foods with high volumes of sugar and carbohydrates. What happens when you have a heavy meal before bedtime is that it will cause your body to take longer to wind down and relax. Your body needs time to digest the food you feed it and heavy meals take longer to break down than light meals. In essence, you slow down the process of falling asleep by eating high sugar or high carb meals in the evening.
Foods To Avoid With Sleep Apnea
Here is a list of the main food items to avoid before going to bed at night. They include the following:
Foods That Contain High-Fat Dairy Products
High-fat dairy products may trigger or increase mucus production. These products include whole milk, heavy cream, and cheese with high-fat content. Plus, whole milk products that are high sources of saturated fats may increase sleep apnea-related issues such as heart disease. To avoid these risks, there are several high-fat dairy products to remove from your diet or at least not consume in the evening before going to bed. These foods that cause sleep apnea include the following:
- pizza with cheese topping
- pasta Alfredo
- full-fat lattes
- ice cream
Foods That Contain High-Fat Meats
High-fat meats are loaded in saturated fat and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease along with affecting inflammation. As we already know, saturated fats can trigger sleep disorders. The high-fat meats to avoid include:
- pork chops
- porterhouse or top sirloin steak
- pizza with meat topping
- hot dogs
- deli meats
- fast food breakfast sandwiches
- fried chicken
- veal cutlets
High-fat steaks can be replaced with cold-water fish (salmon), which may improve heart health, lower inflammation, and reduce the number of unhealthy fats you consume.
Foods That Contain Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are best known for adding calories to foods but not much in dietary benefits. Examples of foods to avoid with sleep apnea with refined carbohydrates include any food that has added sugar (cane sugar), honey, corn syrup, and enriched flour. Refined carbs in foods make them high-glycemic which means these foods do not fill you when eaten and may result in upsetting your blood sugar levels and energy. As these can trigger weight gain, your risk of developing sleep apnea symptoms also increases. Processed snack foods to avoid include:
- regular soft drinks
- frozen desserts
- pancake syrup
- cereals with extra sugar
Always refer to the ingredient list on packaging and try to purchase items that indicate they contain whole grains instead of enriched grains or flour.
Foods That Cause Acid Reflux Or Heartburn
Acid reflux and heartburn can disrupt a good sleeping pattern. One way to avoid foods that cause sleep apnea is to ease up on rich and spicy foods. While you may have a tolerance for hot foods, they will still cause issues with digestion. Plus, spicy foods may irritate your throat and are known to increase body temperature which will make sleeping difficult.
We’ve talked about high-fat dairy and meat but what we didn’t explain is that these foods digest slowly and if you eat a lot of them before lying down, you may experience bloating or cramping.
Foods That Increase Mucus Production
Mucus production may hamper normal breathing which can result in sleep apnea. One food to stay away from before bedtime that can easily increase mucus production is bananas. Soft, overripe ones, in particular.
Foods That Are Fiber-Enriched
You should already know that fiber is not only good for you, but it makes you feel fuller with less volume consumed. Fiber is something each of us needs in our diet to maintain good health. However, choosing to consume high-fiber foods in the evening will cause problems with sleep. That is because fiber takes longer to digest. Examples of high-fiber foods to avoid before bedtime include onions, cabbage, and broccoli. While these foods are good for you, when you eat them is important.
Too late in the day and your body may still be breaking them down as you try to sleep. This can lead to bloating. On the other end of the scale are vegetables with high water content. Radishes, cucumbers, and celery are examples. The high water content in these veggies may force you to wake up during the night for a trip to the bathroom.
Other Foods To Avoid
There are other foods to avoid with sleep apnea. They include:
- alcohol, which relaxes your throat and may lead to airway blockages
- caffeine, which will keep you awake as it is a stimulant
Sleep apnea is a disruptive sleep disorder. Individuals who suffer from it have difficulty during the day as a lack of sleep impacts concentration and focus. For people with jobs that require attention, sleep apnea can cause problems. One way to stay is to know which foods to avoid with sleep apnea and ensure you don’t eat them in the latter part of the day before going to bed. Some foods should be avoided simply because they can trigger sleep disorders.
The foods that do this fall under a few main categories and are basically foods that contain high-fat, high sugar, high fiber, and high water content. Spicy foods and those that produce high mucus production should also be avoided. By eating the right foods before bedtime, you can get a good sleep and be more productive during the day.