5 natural food remedies for sleeplessnessPosted: July 30, 2014
Sleeplessness – it’s like sitting through a long, drawn out movie where you just can’t get comfortable. Two o’clock in the morning rolls around, and you’re tossing and turning, and counting one sheep after another, laying with eyes wide open in your bed. The worst!
It’s a scenario that takes place for many. In fact, roughly one third of the world suffers from insomnia. Women are hit the hardest, myself included in these numbers, and of course, it only gets worse as we age. Oh boy! At least we’re in good company.
After one too many nights with the sheep, I decided to do some research on how to help fix this problem. I know sleep is important to my health, and even more notably, I can’t stand walking around sleepy when I seem unable to rest well the night before.
The easy answer seemed like it would be to turn to sleeping aids, and although I’m generally not one to see “drugs” as the solution, I did end up testing out a few over-the-counter brands. What I found was that even those couldn’t do the trick. It was then that I knew it was time to see what natural remedies were out there, and so began my research. In doing so, what struck me as most interesting were the numerous studies on various foods and their relationship to sleep. Below are a few items research has shown may help the issue of insomnia, and ones I will be experimenting with on my own. If you too are having trouble sleeping, maybe you’ll want to try a few of them with me.
5 Natural Food Remedies for Sleeplessness
Wild Lettuce. This has been shown to be effective at calming restlessness and reducing anxiety. However, before you start loading up your salad bowl, note Wild Lettuce is different than your standard spring green mix at the store. Technically known as Lactuca virosa, the wild leafy plant is used to create an extract for its sedative effect. Dr. Oz recommends 30 mg before bed if you’re experiencing insomnia.
Warm Milk. I thought this was more myth than anything, but apparently it falls under the truth category afterall. While the science is still hazy, the thought behind it is that psychology may play a significant role in its sedative abilities. For some, drinking warm milk may have nostalgic properties that draw relaxing memories of mom helping you fall asleep as a child.
Cherry Juice. Pucker up for this one. A recent study has shown that drinking some tart cherry juice a couple of times per day can help you to sleep up to ninety minutes more per night. Why? Cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin and tryptophan, which help to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles.
A small bedtime, carb-loaded snack. A banana or single slice of whole grain bread might do the trick, especially if you feel like you’re about to go to bed hungry. Carb intake has been shown to increase the concentration of tryptophan, acting as a precursor of serotonin and a sleep-inducing agent. However, be sure to keep your snack small if eaten within two hours before bedtime. A large snack can actual wake you back up and interfere with sleep.
Two Kiwi. Taking a spoon to two of these green globes before bed has shown to increase sleep time and decrease mid-sleep waking periods after a month. Research indicates the antioxidants and serotonin in the fruit work to boost your quality of sleep.
Finding the right sleep remedy for you can take time and experimentation. It’s important to try and keep yourself from getting frustrated, as this can often exacerbate the situation. I’ll be adding a rotation of these into my evening routine, along with a few deep breaths, to see what’s best for me. And if nothing else, I’ll be enjoying the sweetness of that kiwi!
Are there any other foods that you’ve found that help to promote better sleep?
About the author: Gina Horkey is a freelance writer, with a love for all things health and fitness. She’s passionate about designing a flexible lifestyle suited to meet the needs of her young family, who together love camping, biking and soaking in as much outdoor time as possible. Gina hopes to inspire others to do the same in leading an adaptable life towards health.