Surprising List: Some Foods Keep You Up. Others Help You Sleep.

Sleep Support Group Host Tests Theory: Cake and Ice Cream Do Disrupt Sleep!

People from five states in search of ways to get a better night’s sleep joined in the December edition of ‘CPAP Chat.’

One individual who didn’t sleep well the night after the program was host Eric Cohen who wanted to test research that says eating ice cream before bedtime would disrupt his sleep. Cohen confirms that he “took one for the team,” devouring a generous serving of chocolate cake and ice cream before going to bed. “I went to bed very happy, but that gluttony did indeed lead to a restless night’s sleep,” he smiled.

CPAP Chat is a town meeting-style virtual support group ( -- the only program of its kind for people suffering from sleep apnea. Held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 pm (ET), sessions are free and open to all. During the recent session – the 21st -- Cohen, president of National Sleep Therapy, asked participants about their New Year resolutions related to more restful sleep – such as diet, exercise and proper use of CPAP and other sleep therapy devices. Cohen shared a surprising list of foods that may interfere with sleep, including:
  • Wine – prevents entering deep REM sleep stages (drink 4 – 6 hours before bedtime!)
  • Green Tea – Its caffeine can trigger your nervous system. Also increases frequency of nighttime bathroom breaks.
  • Chicken –High-protein foods can interfere with circadian rhythm.
  • Ice cream – Your body needs time to burn the fat in fatty foods. You’ll be restless.
**A good rule of thumb: Finish eating three hours before bedtime.**

Also discussed were foods that can help you get a good night’s sleep:
  • Warm milk – Contains tryptophan which becomes serotonin, producing a calming effect (not too much or you’ll need to interrupt your sleep for a bathroom break!)
  • Cherries – Contains melatonin that controls the internal body clock
  • Bananas – Contain magnesium and potassium, natural muscle relaxants. The carbs make you feel sleepy.
  • Almonds – Contain magnesium, and help regulate blood sugar while asleep.
Participants and NST staff revealed their New Year resolutions and hopes for 2016. Sleep apnea has been called a national epidemic. Some 20 million American suffer from it though only a small percent have been diagnosed. The most popular therapy involves CPAP (pronounced see-pap) --acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure -- that uses a gentle air flow to keep breathing passages open.

The next edition of CPAP Chat is set for Wednesday JANUARY 6, from 7 – 8 pm (ET). To join the conversation, just prior to the session (always on the first Wednesday of each month,) call 1-800-204-6655, enter access code 342-2187#. Questions may be submitted in advance either via Facebook or email . For more info, visit

-Stanley Hurwitz /

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