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15 Foods To Help You Sleep Through The Night

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15 Foods To Help You Sleep Through The Night

Try These Insomnia Busting Foods and Supplements Tonight
Jason Wrobel
Jason Wrobel More by this author
May 16, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Editor's Note: Jason Wrobel is taking part in the Hay House World Summit for the very first time, discussing the connection between nutrition, physical activity, and longevity. Jason starts by sharing the inspiration for his new book, Eaternity, which features more than 100 plant-based recipes and lifestyle advice for better health and well-being. Sign up to listen for FREE here until May 26th, 2016.

Before we explore some natural and delicious sleep solutions, let’s take a look at how big our national sleep debt really is:

·    50 percent of Americans are clinically sleep deprived
·    In a National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30 percent of adults reported an average of just six hours of sleep per night (medical doctors say seven to eight hours is optimal)
·    More than 9 million Americans use pharmaceutical sleeping pills on a regular basis

The main problem is that people are looking for solutions at the bottom of an aluminum can. Artificial energy drinks, caffeinated sodas, and sugary coffees that claim to keep you going like the Energizer bunny are dominating the grocery and drugstore shelves these days.

If it was available, I bet some people would set up intravenous coffee drips right into their veins. (Raise your hand if you just thought, Hey, that’s not a bad idea!) Everyone wants to work harder, faster, longer, and stronger— which is super admirable—but there are major downsides to working those longer hours, inviting more stress into your life, and enduring the rigors of your daily responsibilities.

Without proper time to rest and recharge, you’ll enjoy far less sleep than you really need . . . and whatever sleep you do get won’t be quality, rejuvenating sleep.

NIFTY TRICKS FOR NAPTIME

So how can you naturally remediate insomnia or restlessness and experience deep, rejuvenating sleep every night? It’s easier than you think. In fact, you’ve probably got more than a few of these insomnia-fighting ingredients in your kitchen right now.

1. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fresh banana slices, anyone? Yep, it appears that some of your favorite go-to foods and celebrated snacks from childhood—including oatmeal, bananas, nut butters, and cherry juice—are actually some of nature’s best “Ambiens”!

2. My absolute favorite sleep aid is liquid magnesium. I take one to two ounces before bedtime in a small glass of filtered water. Magnesium plays a key role in the bodily function that regulates sleep. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and in fact, a 2006 analysis in the journal Medical Hypothesis suggests that a magnesium deficiency may be the cause of most major clinical depressions and mental health problems. Some health professionals actually refer to it as “the master mineral” because of all the important functions it facilitates in the body. You’ll find healthy doses of natural magnesium in food sources such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, beans, and all varieties of lentil.

3. Putting organic lavender oil on your pillow or sheets and doing restorative yoga poses, relaxing meditations, or gentle stretching before bedtime can be beneficial for a good night’s sleep— not to mention an incredibly pleasurable, calming experience. You can even go the extra mile to boost nightly melatonin production by using blackout shades in your bedroom while unplugging your Wi-Fi and all EMF-emitting devices before you turn in for the night.

So, the good news is, you don’t have to count sheep anymore or rely on pharmaceutical drugs to help you sleep. There are a variety of ways to prepare your body and mind for a seriously sound snoozin’.

MY TOP NUTRIENTS FOR GOOD SLEEP
 
Calcium: Has a sedative effect on the body. A calcium deficiency causes restlessness and wakefulness.

Magnesium: In addition to boosting your libido, this mineral is key to inducing slumber. Magnesium deficiency is partly responsible for nervousness that can prevent sleep.

Phosphatidylserine: An amino acid that helps the brain regulate the amount of cortisone produced by the adrenals. It is helpful for those who cannot sleep because of high cortisone levels, usually induced by stress. PPS is a hormone secreted naturally by the pineal gland.

Melatonin: The sleep hormone. It is said to induce sleep without any negative side effects and is secreted mainly at night. Melatonin is found naturally in plants and in algae.

Tryptophan: An amino acid that plays a key role in the repair of protein tissues and in creating new protein. In the brain, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a natural sleep-inducing chemical. It also enhances the brain’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body’s natural inner clock.

Other helpful supplements: 5-HTP, GABA, Rescue Sleep, St.John's Wort, Magnolia Bark, Ashwagandha, Valerian Root, 

FOODS TO HELP YOU SNOOZE 

·    almonds
·    chamomile tea
·    cherries
·    chickpeas
·    bananas
·    hops
·    jasmine rice
·    kale
·    oatmeal
·    passion flower
·    poppy seeds
·    rice
·    walnuts
·    white sapote
·    whole grains

Getting enough sleep and taking time for radical self-care is now more important than ever. It does require courage, and some might say selfishness, to take good care of yourself amid a culture that pushes you to GO, GO, GO until you drop from exhaustion.

Sleep provides an opportunity for your body to repair and rejuvenate itself.

Research findings show that many of our major restorative functions, such as muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during deep sleep. Other rejuvenating aspects of sleep are specific to the brain and cognitive function. For example, while you are awake, neurons in your brain produce adenosine, a by-product of your cells’ activities. The buildup of adenosine in your brain is thought to be one factor that leads to your perception of being tired. Interestingly enough, this feeling is completely nullified by the use of caffeine, which blocks the actions of adenosine in the brain and keeps you awake, alert, and “cracked out.” Scientists think that the buildup of adenosine during wakefulness may promote your body’s drive to fall asleep. As long as we are awake, adenosine accumulates and remains at a high level. While you sleep, your body has a chance to clear adenosine from your system, and, as a result, you feel much more alert when you wake up.

One thing is for sure, and that’s this: no matter what, you need sleep to live. Period.

If you want a razor-sharp memory, sleep is a crucial activity for optimal information retention, especially after learning a new skill. Unfortunately, with many people choosing crazy, fast-paced lifestyles with myriad distractions, we are experiencing sleep deficiency at a much higher rate than ever. We end up compromising the production of key brain chemicals that are needed for relaxation and rejuvenation, to the massive detriment of our learning abilities.

So, how are sleep and learning related? And what happens to your brain the morning after an all-night bender laden with artificial energy drinks and triple-espresso macchiatos? Let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot worse than a hangover. 

Learning and memory are complex, interrelated phenomena that are not entirely understood by scientists and researchers. However, new studies indicate that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on our learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently while awake. Second, sleep plays a major role in the consolidation of memory, which is absolutely essential for learning and retaining new information. Without adequate sleep and rest, overworked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and you lose your ability to access previously learned information. Plus, your interpretation of events may be affected. You can lose your ability to make sound decisions because you can no longer accurately assess a situation to plan accordingly and choose the correct, most beneficial behavior for yourself.

Being chronically tired to the point of fatigue or exhaustion means that you are less likely to perform well. Major lapses in focus from sleep deprivation can even result in accidents or injury. Low-quality sleep and sleep deprivation also negatively impact mood, which has major consequences for learning and information retention. Although chronic sleep deprivation affects different people in a variety of ways, it’s clear that a good night’s rest has a huge impact on effective learning and long-term memory.

My book, Eaternity, has a chapter called Eat For Good Sleep which includes 10+ recipes to make you sleepy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control insufficient sleep is now a major public health epidemic. They estimate that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders. If you are one of them, you owe it to yourself to try some of these natural solutions above. Try them one at a time to see which one works best for you. And if you have success, I'd love to hear about it, so please share in the comments below. 

About Author
Jason Wrobel
Jason Wrobel is a graduate of the Living Light Culinary Institute with national certification as a Professional Raw Food Chef and Instructor. A vegan for nearly 20 years, he has shown hundreds of thousands of people how to prepare deliciously easy Continue reading