Snacking before bedtime does NOT affect your sleep – but checking emails will stop you dropping off

EATING a late night snack before before bedtime does NOT affect your sleep but checking work emails does stop you dropping off, a study shows.

Arguing before bed and exercising late also stop you getting 40 winks, experts say.

TV medical professional Dr Ranj has debunked some of the popular myths about sleep, including claims that everyone needs to get a full eight hours a night.

Eating a light snack before bed is also unlikely to affect your quality of sleep.

However, tucking into a full meal shortly before going to sleep, using a phone at night and the temperature of a room will affect your chances of getting a decent kip.

It comes after a study of 2,000 adults, by Furniture Village, found being too hot or cold, needing to go to the toilet and stress levels are among the top reasons for having a bad night’s sleep.

While having a small snack before bed is usually fine, a large meal can make it uncomfortable to lie down and keep you awake.

According to Dr Ranj, there is little evidence to support the idea that eating cheese before bed gives you vivid dreams or nightmares, and that in fact, cheese is a source of B vitamins which can help you sleep.

But 11 per cent of those polled believe tucking into cheese last thing at night will result in poor sleep.

Reading too late, which is considered to be true by 14 per cent of those polled, is also unlikely to leave you unable to sleep and actually helps you to wind down, especially if done on a non-electronic screen.

And while 31 per cent believe that everyone should get eight hours sleep in order to class it as good, Dr Ranj believes that different people require different amounts of sleep – with the average adult needing anything between seven and nine hours.

LATE NIGHT NIBBLES

Dr Ranj, who is Furniture Village’s new sleep ambassador said: “Sleep is as vital to good health as diet and exercise, and it’s often easier, yet many people believe in popular myths and rely on home sleep remedies, which may not work.

“While the general impression is everyone needs eight hours of sleep, different people require different amounts of sleep – some people need less and others more.

“The common myth that eating cheese effects sleep actually has no impact at all and in reality may be associated with more pleasant dreams and while having a small snack before bed is usually fine, a large meal can make it uncomfortable to lie down and keep
you awake.

“Electronics should also be avoided for at least an hour before bed as the light emitted by devices can interfere with the sleep-inducing hormones that our brains produce.

Electronics should also be avoided for at least an hour before bed as the light emitted by devices can interfere with the sleep-inducing hormones that our brains produce

“If you can’t sleep, it can help to do something else – like reading, ideally on a non-electronic screen – for a short period of time before trying again.”

The study also found just 19 per cent of those polled believe their overall diet affects their sleep quality and only a tenth feel the same about smoking – both of which Dr Ranj confirmed do have an influence.

Typically, the average adult leaves two hours between eating and going to bed, while just over an hour is allowed between a drink and sleep.

But while Dr Ranj believes that having a snack shortly before going to bed is fine, a large meal could cause disruption.

He also added that drinking to stay hydrated is important, but too much too close to bedtime could mean late-night trips to the loo.

Worryingly, 43 per cent of those polled via OnePoll admitted they ‘struggle’ to sleep, with more than a third even researching how to improve their shut-eye.

On average, adults take 32 minutes to drift off once they’re in bed and wake up twice during a standard night.

But more than two in five believe their sleep has worsened with age and 63 per cent have struggled when in a bed which isn’t theirs, such as at a hotel.

A spokesperson for Furniture Village said: “The research proves that, particularly in these uncertain times, people are focused on both the quality and the quantity of their sleep, with many seeking out strategies – which may or may not work – to help them sleep better.

“Dr Ranj has helpfully debunked some of the more common myths around sleep, like eating cheese before bed and getting a strict eight hours of sleep every night.

“As well as before-bed routines and night time habits, we know that the quality of an individual's sleep can also be affected by his or her bed and mattress.”

Dr Ranj's tips for a better night's sleep can be seen at https://www.furniturevillage.co.uk/sleep-essentials.html

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