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 Sleep  Holistic-online.com

Insomnia - Causes (Contd.)


Food, depending on its chemical composition, can act as a stimulant and contribute to your lack of sleep.

Foods That Can Interfere With Sleep


Soft Drinks


Chocolate candy or dessert

Chocolate milk, hot chocolate, or cocoa

Jalapeno peppers


Rich desserts

Rich sauces

Diet is a primary factor when considering sleep disorders. Intolerance to certain foods, eating excessively, the consumption of caffeine, and the intake of drugs and alcohol are important concerns.

Caffeine can have a pronounced effect on sleeping habits. Even a few cups of coffee in the morning can interfere with the quality and quantity of sleep at night. Caffeine consumption has been associated with insomnia, periodic leg movements syndrome, and restless leg syndrome. Avoiding coffee alone just won't do. Many over-the-counter medications such as cold and cough preparations that contain caffeine, or caffeine-related substances, can also increase sleep disorders.

Caffeine Content of Common Beverages
Beverage Caffeine ( mg)
Coffee (7.5 oz. cup) 
Drip  115-150 
Brewed 80-135
Instant  65-140 
Decaffeinated  3-4 
Tea (5 oz. cup) 
1-min. brew 20 
3-min. brew  35
Iced (12 oz.)  70
Soft drinks
Jolt 100
Mountain Dew 54
Tab 47
Coca-Cola 45
Diet Coke 45 
Dr Pepper  40
Pepsi 38 
Diet Pepsi 36 
7Up  0

See Also: Food and Diet Remedies for Insomnia for a description of foods that can contribute to insomnia and foods that promote sleep.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance should one of the suspects when someone is suffering from sleep disorders. The most common foods that people are sensitive to are dairy products, wheat, corn, and chocolate.

Herbert Rinkel, M.D. suggested that symptoms of tension and jitteriness, common to food- sensitive individuals, are apt to manifest in restlessness and inattentiveness by day, and insomnia by night. According to him, insomnia, as well as tossing about or crying out at night, are very frequent manifestations of food intolerance.

Fatigue is often one of the first symptoms of food intolerance, and is most troublesome early in the morning upon rising. The victims are often irritable during the morning hours and may need a nap in the late afternoon. They frequently suffer from insomnia as well.

It is suggested that intolerance to certain foods can cause histamine to be released in the brain. This can disturb a person's biochemistry, and can, in some cases, lead to sleep disturbance. In the brain, histamine replaces neurotransmitters, but because it does not function like other neurotransmitters, it creates a dysfunction in the biochemical pathways of the brain (These are responsible for thinking, mood, and behavior). When these pathways are disrupted, one of the symptoms is insomnia.

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