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The Joys and Pains of Spicy Food

As mattress professionals, we get asked a lot of random questions. Last week we posted some of the most bizarre examples of questions related to our specialty. This week, we would like to look at one question in a little more depth.

The question is this: “Can spicy foods affect my sleep potential?”

The answer: “Yes, both negatively and positively.”

Spices: Combatting Bland for Centuries

Spices are often added to foods that are high in protein and fat. These foods can be difficult for your body to digest, often requiring more than the standard four hours for full digestion. If you try and fall asleep to early after eating any large meal, your brain will focus on your body’s struggle to breakdown the food you have added to it, instead of calmly slipping into a state of restfulness.

Spicy foods can also irritate your upper esophagus, which can lead to pain and acid reflex. Falling asleep is hard enough as it is some nights, but add heartburn to the mix and you’re in for a few hours of staring painfully at the ceiling – wishing you hadn’t ordered that third round of suicide wings.

On the flip side, there are a few spices, like cinnamon, that aid digestion. These spices can reduce the time needed before bed.

There are also many other spices that lower blood sugar. And still others that contain essential antioxidants that our body needs to combat disease.

Spices that promote sleep directly are nutmeg, turmeric and the always tasty, garlic.

The best advice we can give you is, “know your own body.” If certain spices give you heartburn, try to avoid them, especially when you’re behind on your sleep. If you feel you need a natural aid to dose off before a big day, go heavy on the garlic.

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