Who doesn’t like eating chocolate? It is the best sweet pleasure one could ever have. Not only it satisfies your taste buds, but it also aids in good health.
Chocolate contains a rich amount of carbohydrate, protein, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium in it. But is it okay to eat chocolate before going to bed? Does chocolate affect your sleep? Let’s dig a bit deeper and understand how chocolate affects your sleep and overall health.
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Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao tree. These cacao seeds are bitter, so firstly it has to be fermented to give it a good flavor. The fermented seeds are commonly called cacao beans.
Cacao beans are processed further and melted down to produces three types of chocolate, namely:
- Dark Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate
- White Chocolate
Dark chocolate is bitter in taste and has little to no added sugar in it. This makes it the healthiest among all of the three types of chocolates. On the other hand, milk chocolate contains additional sugar and condensed milk.
White chocolate is another type of chocolate available in the market. It contains more milk and sugar than milk chocolate.
What Exactly is in Chocolate?
Chocolate contains a special chemical, Tryptophan. It is an essential amino acid responsible for making us feel relaxed or calm and aids in soundless sleep.
Tryptophan also plays a critical role in producing serotonin, commonly known as a mood-regulating neurotransmitter or happy chemical.
All commercial chocolate bars also contain a good amount of added sugar. This added sugar will make your blood sugar level rise drastically, making you feel energetic.
Caffeine in Chocolate
Cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine. Chocolate in all three types has caffeine present in them. The caffeine content in dark chocolate is maximum, whereas it is very less in the other two types of chocolate.
The caffeine content in chocolate is not enough to affect your body. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine, then it might cause trouble for you. In such conditions, avoid eating chocolate before going to bed.
Will Chocolate Keep You Awake at Night?
Chocolate contains sugar and caffeine. Intake of sugar can increase the blood sugar level, which can make you feel energetic. But the amount of caffeine found even in the highest quality of dark chocolate is very less than a cup of coffee. This caffeine content does not make you feel restless in any way.
However, if you are sensitive to caffeine, then it can affect your sleep, making you awake the whole night.
On the other side, eating chocolate triggers more secretion of serotonin, which is primarily responsible for sleep, lethargy, and drowsiness. So technically, eating chocolate could keep you awake or sleepy, depending on your caffeine tolerance.
Which Has More Caffeine Chocolate or Coffee?
The caffeine level in coffee is much higher than in chocolate. Caffeine in chocolate is distributed differently in all three types of chocolate, viz. dark, milk, or white chocolate. The amount of cocoa present decides caffeine in the chocolate. The higher the cocoa bean percentage more will be the caffeine content in your chocolate.
It is a general rule that dark chocolate contains approximately 70-80% of the cocoa content, whereas it is between 10-50% of the range for milk or white chocolate.
When we talk about coffee beans or powder, it has much more caffeine than the purest dark chocolate available in the market. However, the caffeine content in a cup of coffee may vary depending on factors like the brewing method or coffee to water ratio.
If we sum up the topic, then clearly, coffee has a much higher caffeine percentage than chocolate. This is the reason why you feel awake after consuming a few cups of coffee in the late hours but not after consuming chocolate.
Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, which have caffeine in them. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa, adding more caffeine to it than milk or white chocolate.
However, the caffeine content even in dark chocolate is so low that it probably does not make any significant impact on your body. So it is an absolute myth that chocolate has a lot of caffeine in it.
Yes, dark chocolates do contain caffeine. Dark chocolate is the purest form of chocolate, with 70-80% cocoa content and a bit of sugar. As cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine so dark chocolate also does.
It is perfectly fine to eat chocolate at night. Eating chocolate produces more serotonin, which is known as a happy chemical. It makes you sleep faster and sleep longer. It also helps reduce stress adding to better sleep quality.
However, chocolate contains caffeine, so if you are among those caffeine-sensitive people, please avoid eating chocolate at bedtime cravings.