Are you stuck with a lot of leftover chocolate from Easter?
The good news is that you now have another reason to treat yourself to some chocolate eggs.
Not only does it taste good – but eating or drinking chocolate could be better for your sleep than originally thought, according to sleep experts at Dormeo.
With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, and lockdown restrictions still in place, many are finding it is affecting their sleep.
Whether you are struggling to get to sleep, or just finding your sleep quality is affected – you may be looking for ways to improve it.
Before you go eating all the chocolate in the cupboards – be sure to keep reading.
The good news is that research from New Scientist has found that the secret to a blissful night’s slumber could be the scent of chocolate.
It was found that a certain type of brain activity associated with alertness, known as theta, drops significantly when we smell chocolate, resulting in a more relaxed state of mind that could help us feel more ready for bed.
Chocolate also contains a few vitamins and minerals that can help regulate our sleep, such as calcium, magnesium, and theobromine.
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Consuming cocoa has also been found to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which can keep us awake at night, so enjoying a cup, a bar, or a few squares before bed is sure to help you relax.
But here is the bad news – chocolate contains caffeine, the enemy of a good night's rest.
In fact, the more cacao there is in a bar of chocolate, the more caffeine it contains, which is a chemical responsible for making us feel alert and disrupting our sleep.
So dark chocolate, which is the healthiest option with most cocoa, could be a bad option before bed.
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Chocolate with a low caffeine content is white chocolate – which also contains milk solids which can trigger sleepy feelings.
But white chocolate contains high amounts of sugar, so it’s important to get the right balance.
However, sleep experts at Dormeo say a few squares of your favourite chocolate probably don’t contain enough stimulants to keep you awake all night.
The main takeaway from this is to enjoy chocolate before bed in moderation – and see if it works for you.
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Phil Lawlor, Sleep Expert at Dormeo: “While it's true that chocolate contains a few things we'd best avoid before bed — namely sugar and caffeine — the psychological effect it can have outweighs how many stimulants are in it.
“A cup of hot cocoa or a few delicious squares can help us wind down in the evening and may even have soporific effects, but if you're still worried about consuming stimulants too close to bedtime, it's good to know that just the smell of chocolate can be enough to make us feel calm.”
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