Insomnia – the inability to get good healthy deep sleep…is a common issue. Statistics indicate that 1/5 of American adults and over 1/2 of seniors have a problem with sleep (Note: statistics vary depending on the criterion used and the variables determined. These were conservative estimates) . There are a variety of pharmaceutical drugs that deplete nutrients and prevent deep sleep but put you to sleep that sort of help the symptom but don’t resolve the underlying issues. In the long run they can cause more problems than they solve – as with most pharmaceuticals.
So what are the options? There are a huge number of options…but which one is appropriate for you – that is a more difficult question.
There are a wide number of causes of insomnia from adrenal issues, nutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals, omega 3s, etc), to deficient microbiota, various types of toxicities, etc. So it is important to find a good alternative health practitioner that can help you identify the underlying issue rather than a symptom manager that can manage the superficial symptoms…if you can identify the underlying issue and address that – it is always a lot more effective.
Foods that can benefit sleep:
1) almonds & walnuts: contain tryptophan, magnesium & melatonin – a great combination for a sleep remedy
2) tart cherries and raspberries: bitter for the liver and melatonin for the CNS – both of which can help sleep cycles
3) oatmeal: while usually considered for breakfast – it does make a good late night snack for sleep as it has magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium – the alkalizing minerals that can provoke sleep
4) bananas: again they contain good levels of magnesium, potassium and tryptophan all of which are good for sleep
Avoid the following foods:
1) grapefruit: great if you want to decrease your medications (only do under the direction of a health practitioner) but if you are receptive to acid issues – then avoid grapefruits as it may give you heartburn all night
2) celery – a great healthy vegetable BUT not before bed as it is a natural diuretic and may provoke you to wake up needing to urinate
3) ginger – another great herb – especially as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory for the throat; increases digestive enzymes BUT can also act like a diuretic and wake you up in the night
4) Fried and/or greasy food: fried, fatty, and greasy foods require a lot more metabolism than healthy foods and taken before bed can provoke heartburn and indigestion
5) Spicy foods : if you are reactive to spicy foods, then taken before bed they may irritate your digestive system thus preventing sleep.