Sleep Nutrition is one of the most important nutrients that our body desires.
You can eat all the right food; take all the best supplements, exercise regularly – but if you can’t sleep – you are missing a very important component to your healthy lifestyle. Sleep nutrition is one of the cornerstones of health. Did you know? 50 million to 70 million American adults suffer from sleep disorders. Read more to not be one of them!
How Much Sleep Nutrition Do I Need?
Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far-reaching effects on your health.
How Does Interrupted or Impaired Sleep Affect Me?
• Decrease brain activity
• Affect learning
• Impair memory
• Decreases problem-solving ability and concentration
• Impairs our ability to think or handle stress
• Dramatically weakens the immune system
We Take Sleep for Granted
Many of us take sleep for granted, so it can be shocking and dismaying when we just can’t fall asleep. Usually, there are reasons we can’t fall asleep, however strange and seemingly unrelated they may be. Insomnia is the sensation of daytime fatigue and impaired performance caused when you just can’t fall asleep.
Insomnia is classified as:
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Waking frequently during the night
• Waking too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep
• Waking feeling unrefreshed
Insomnia Affects Hormone Levels and Accelerates aging
Insomnia will affect your hormone levels and accelerate aging, and may also play a role in diabetes, depression, and cancer. While it may be tempting to look for a pill to quickly help you sleep, these will not address the top underlying causes of such sleep disorders, which include:
All types of negative emotions, including worry, fear, anxiety, etc., can keep you up at night. Stress tops the list when it comes to pinning down the cause of insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
Increased levels of stress hormones in your body can lead to a hyper-aroused state that makes it difficult to sleep.
People with damage to their optic nerve can have problems sleeping, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up at strange times, sleepiness during the day and insomnia at night.
AVOID Cell phones/Screens:
Using a cell phone/TV/Computer before going to bed could cause insomnia, headaches, and confusion, and may also cut your amount of deep sleep, interfering with your body‘s ability to refresh itself. Exposure to blue light from screens (cell phones, laptops, television, etc.) inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps people fall asleep.
Eat Right to Sleep Right
The relationship between your diet and good sleep doesn’t end with caffeine. There are several other ways to choose foods to sleep better.
Get off the rollercoaster diet; focus on foods that have a calming effect on the body.
Tryptophan amino acid: dairy products, eggs, poultry, seafood
Vitamin B12: dairy products, fish, meat, poultry
Folate: beans, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables
Omega-3s: beans, cold-water fish, flaxseeds
Cherries contain melatonin and are very rich in vitamins.
Melatonin is a substance also found in the human body that helps
regulate sleep. Eating fresh or dried cherries before you go to bed
at night may help you sleep better.
Avoid heavy or spicy foods
Or any foods you know that may cause heartburn,
making it difficult for you to sleep at night.
Limit alcohol consumption
Although alcohol may make you drowsy, over-consumption of your favorite adult beverages may cause a very restless uncomfortable night. Studies have shown that alcohol throws off your circadian rhythm cycle. Drinking alcohol to help you sleep also leads to lighter, more restless sleep, diminished sleep quality, and next-day fatigue. This prevents your sleep and alertness pattern from syncing up with the natural flow of daylight. Our circadian rhythm dictates a lot more than just our sleep-wake cycle.
People who get enough sleep don’t tend to overeat by adding extra sugary and carbohydrate-rich snacks to their diets. All the extra calories from the snacking can lead to obesity, so not only do the foods you eat affect how you sleep, but the amount of sleep you get also affects the foods you choose to eat.
Supplements May Help You Sleep
Melatonin can be used as a supplement for up to 28 days. Best used as “medicine” – not a daily regimen. Use it only when you NEED it. Melatonin is naturally secreted hormone from the pineal gland, deep inside the brain.
Aromatherapy promotes health and prevents imbalances on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. The aroma enters through the olfactory system. The limbic system: directly communicates with the “master glands.” The hypothalamus and pituitary glands regulate many body functions including hormones and the immune system. Decreases stress, anxiety as well as decreases pain and muscle tension.
- Valerian: Valerian root has been used for thousands of years for its calming, grounding, and emotionally balancing influences. (Nature’s valium)
- Chamomile: Known for its calming, soothing, and relaxing properties. Try a cup of chamomile tea before bed.
- Lavender: a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime.
- Diffuse Oils: for a comforting and calming scent. Unwind by adding a few drops of oil to an evening bath.
With Natural Options you are in control of your sleep!