While some foods are easy on the digestive system and are known to promote deep and restful sleep, others can keep seniors up at night with various forms of discomfort. Most family caregivers know that caffeine should be limited at this stage of life, however, there are a number of surprising foods and beverages that can be just as detrimental to an aging adult’s sleep schedule.
To help promote a good night’s rest for your aging parent or loved one, Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley shares four foods that seniors should avoid before bed.
- Sugary, High-Carb Foods – Some of the easiest, late night snacks are high in simple carbohydrates. These are typically comprised of refined white flours and an excess amount of sugar. A slice of cake, a piece of pie or even a bowl of ice cream might seem like a nice way to finish the night out. Unfortunately, any rich dessert just before bedtime can cause a senior’s blood sugar levels to spike and plummet, making it difficult to get to sleep and stay there. Fresh fruit with lightly sweetened cream is a delicious alternative. Desserts should be light, nutritious and absent of refined flour.
- Celery – Celery is a crunchy, healthy, and negative-calorie food that is capable of cleaning and strengthening the teeth. This might seem like the ideal, late-night snack, but celery is also a diuretic. This means that it will increase urination by pushing water through the system. Too much celery just before bed can keep seniors up throughout the night, making frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Red Sauce – Pizza, pasta and anything else drenched in red sauce will prove too acidic to promote a good night’s sleep. These foods can create acid reflux and other forms of gastric upset. Moreover, both pasta and pizza crust are typically comprised of refined white flours that will quickly break down into simple sugars. Thus, in addition to acid reflux, seniors wills also have to contend with sharp rises and drops in their blood sugar levels. Peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain toast is a far better alternative.
- Garlic – Known as a “hot herb”, garlic can be responsible for acid reflux and heartburn. While garlic is packed with inherent, antimicrobial properties, this is an herb that is best incorporated into lunch or an early dinner. In fact, those with weak stomachs or who are prone to acid reflux may need to avoid this herb entirely.
If your aging parent or loved one has trouble sleeping at night, make an appointment with his or her doctor to rule out any underlying causes. Along with certain dieting habits, inactivity and medication side effects can be the cause of poor sleep at night.
For more information about senior care at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley at 484-350-3874. While we are known as Lehigh Valley’s 24 hour care specialists, we also provide care on an hourly, as-needed basis for seniors who need help with meal preparation, medication reminders, personal care, transportation and so much more. Call today and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.