Many people like spicy food, and these kind of foods are especially popular in South Asian countries like China, Japan, India, Thailand, and others. Adding plenty of spices to our daily diet is sometimes linked to excellent health effects. For example, there are plenty of positive properties to benefit from using curry seasoning. Some studies suggested that using curry and curcumin is very good for reducing our risks to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Spices are great appetite stimulants, and such a spice as cinnamon can be used to speed up metabolism and prevent obesity. In combination with honey and ginger, it is possible to use cinnamon for reducing the symptoms of common cold, a flu, and other common respiratory system problems. Most of the specialists recommend us adding some spices to our daily diet. However, not many of those are aware about the adverse effects of consuming spicy food, especially about negative effects of a diet rich in spicy food on our sleep quality.
The idea that the diet we eat can have certain effects on our sleep is not a new one. Especially the foods we eat in 5-3 hours before going to bed play the most important role. For example, just recently it was found out that consuming alcohol beverages before going to bed can seriously affect our sleep quality. According to the recent findings published by a group of researchers at Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic, eating spicy foods before going to sleep is linked to developing serious sleep disorders, which can include even nightmares. For their experiments, they asked a group of about 400 volunteers to consume some Thai food before going to bed, and the scientists observed decreased sleep quality patterns in most of the participants. Also, the participants themselves reported about sleeping bad, feeling not rested, and even suffering from bad dreams, meaning that spicy food consumed affected primarily the RAM sleep of the study participants.
The scientists evaluated possible reasons why spicy foods cause such effects. There is a hypothesis that spicy foods tend to speed up metabolism in our body, make all chemical processes more active, including the processes in brain, and rise body temperature which also has negative effects on our sleep quality. As a result, such people have more active REM stage, suffer from more muscle activity, display more activities during this stage of sleep, and feel more disturbance when dreaming. For some people, it can result in seeing bad dreams, and even nightmares. It is also known that seeing nightmares is linked with some imbalances in the frontal lobe, which is also responsible for regulating memories and emotions. Therefore, disturbed sleep and seeing bad dreams is linked with poorer memory, more intense and frequent negative emotions, depressive thoughts, more effects of stresses, which all together may have quite serious effects on our overall health.
Besides, consuming spicy food has its negative effects on digestion. It stimulates digestive system, makes it work really hard and does not allow it to rest properly at night when the person is asleep. As we can see, there are plenty of factors linked to negative effects of consuming spicy foods before going to bed. According to the estimations of the scientists who conducted the experiment, the risks of suffering from nightmares after eating some spicy food before the bedtime can be as high as 9.5 per cent. Finally, the scientists are convinced that negative effects of spicy foods can be caused also by personal sensitivity to some components in such foods. Since most of the spices like ginger, cinnamon, curry, and others are not produced by European manufacturers and are mostly imported, for many people spices are something not usual. That is why some of us may even not be aware about being sensitive or having allergic reactions on some spices. Try to avoid eating heavy or spicy foods, as well as fried food or the foods rich in saturated fats, especially before going to sleep.