Improve Your Snooze And Zap Insomnia With These Foods

 

Insomnia hits most people at certain periods of their lives. According to NISD ( National Institute of Sleeping Disorders) 8 out of ten people have suffered from Insomnia at some point in time. You can  develop insomnia like I did. About 10 yrs back, probably the busiest time of my life I was shuttling between a 2 yr old,  studying, interning and working PT. In spite of having the most supportive spouse in the world, I had so much to do study wise and other wise I slept an average of 4 hrs starting at 2.00 am. Well after those 2 hectic years I couldn’t sleep before 2.00am and that how I became an insomniac. I am not a  fan of drugs although I do take 5 mg of melatonin when I need to. I have however experimented with several natural foods which have helped my insomnia. Most of these are not strictly just for chronic insomniacs but also just to help people enjoy deeper sleep. Hope you will find that these foods  can help you get better zzzzzzz and amp up energy for the day.

Beat Insomnia Foods

 

Dried Cherries and Cherry juice :  Reasearch has shown dried cherries ( about 20 ) can be the perfect bedtime snack. They contain high amounts of sleep inducing melatonin ! 8 ounces of Cherry juice an hour before bedtime should have the same effect.

Celery Juice :The minerals and essential oils in celery juice have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it beneficial for insomniacs. Its high magnesium levels help people to relax into a soothing and restful sleep. You would need 8 oz an 90 before bedtime to get you sleepy and don’t forget to empty your bladder before you sleep or trips to the restroom will keep you up. This is my preferred method.

Serotonin Forming foods : Eat a light snack before bedtime to help produce serotonin (the calming hormone).  Many scientists claim that by combining an ample dose of carbohydrate together with a small amount of protein (which contains the amino acid tryptophan) your brain produces serotonin, which is known as the “calming hormone.” And when we’re calm, we are certainly more apt to fall asleep. Examples are bananas with peanut butter, Turkey on a 1/2 slice wheat bread,  Whole grain cereal with milk,  Crackers and cheese.

Calcium :Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods. Milk, yogurt, soymilk, almond milk, cheese are good sources.

Magnesium : is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping,  muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, black strap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains.

Nutmeg : 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg is supposed to induce sleep and relax the body. Not quite sure why, but I did read that it’s very effective and has worked for me a couple of times. Mix it with a warm glass of milk for a super snooze treat !

Herbal teas : Infused with valerian, melatonin, dandelion root, peppermint, honey and other sleep inducing herbs are a great way to nod off onto sleepyland. I love this method and often use sleepy time teas to lull me to sleep.

Sleep busters

  • Avoid large, high-fat meals late in the day. Also avoid garlic-flavored and highly spiced foods. These foods can make you uncomfortable or cause heartburn.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both can interfere with sleep. I don’t take ant caffeine after 1.00 pm since I find it interferes with my sleep if I do.
  • Don’t drink too much liquid just before bedtime: Remember it takes 90 minutes to get all fluids out. So time accordingly and make the restroom your last stop before you sleep  🙂

I have given a whole lot of suggestions from my experience of dealing with Insomnia, but you don’t have to implement everything. Try a couple and stick with one or two that work best for you.   All The Best with getting a better snooze and some quality sleep  🙂

PS : I have only dealt with the Food side of insomnia, but if you want some great tips on sleeping well, read Dr Andrew Weils’s tips on combating Insomnia the Natural way. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02037/sleep-aid

About Sunithi Selvaraj, RD

Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy ( quite a combo) Nutrition Geek, Healthy Nut.........

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