The right foods can give us more energy, more stamina, keep us up all night or help us get a good night's sleep.
The foods we eat affects many areas of our lives. Eating the best foods for a good night's sleep can let a person maintain healthy sleep habits or overcome a long term bout of insomnia. Among the best natural sedatives is tryptophan, an amino acid component of many plant and animal proteins. Tryptophan is one of the ingredients necessary for the body to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter best known for creating feelings of calm, and for making you sleepy. However, the trick is to combine foods that have some tryptophan with ample carbohydrate. That’s because in order for insomnia-busting tryptophan to work, it has to make its way to the brain. Unfortunately, all amino acids compete for transport to the brain. When you add carbs, they cause the release of insulin, which takes the competing amino acids and incorporates them into muscle but leaves tryptophan alone, so it can make its way to the brain and cause sleepiness. I'd say keep bedtime snacks under 200 calories. Eat a high-protein snack an hour before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production. Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross your blood-brain barrier. Avoid before-bed snacks of grains and refined sugars. These will rapidly raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.
The notion may seem like a cliché by now, but warm milk remains one of the best foods for a good night's sleep, if not the best. Cold milk serves the same purpose, but it takes slightly longer to work. Tryptophan, a chemical found in milk helps to regulate the body's sleep cycle. The second on the list of best foods for a good night's sleep is turkey. Americans often wrongly name turkey as the source of their sluggishness after a large Thanksgiving dinner. The tired feeling after this holiday meal often comes from eating too many carbohydrates rather than turkey itself. A small amount of turkey can help a person fall asleep if they eat it about a half-hour before bed time. Now bananas don't contain tryptophan, but they do contain melatonin and serotonin. The naturally occuring melatonin in bananses makes them third on the list of best foods for a good night's sleep. These chemicals are released in the body at certain times of the day.
The human body generally releases more melatonin in the evening, which helps sends the body that a person needs to go to sleep. The magnesium that occurs in this fruit naturally also works as a muscle relaxer. Potassium, another mineral found in bananas can help bruises heal faster.
Putting tea on the list of best foods for a good night's sleep may seem odd. because many teas contain caffeine, a stimulant (not good). I can say from personal experience that chamomile tea doesn't have caffeine and works as a mild sedative. Having a small cup before bed can help your body ease into the sleep cycle. Drinking a glass of wine is also high on the list of bedtime sedatives, and may help you get to sleep once in a while, but alcoholic beverages are not really considered one of the healthiest solutions for a good night's sleep. Still studies show drinking wine before going to bed will help you go to sleep, but long term, this strategy results in a less deep, less satisfying sleep.
MelatoninNow melatonin has gotten a great deal of attention in the past few years since it's the hormone that controls the body's circadian rhythm, our internal 24-hour clock that tells us when to sleep and when to wake up. As we get older, we produce less melatonin, which may account in part for insomnia in older adults. That said, talk with your doctor first, these supplements may interact with your other medications. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and absolute complete darkness at night. In scientific studies, melatonin supplements have been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue. Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep.
Valerian RootValerian root is an herb that is believed to have a calming, relaxing effect on the body. It has been used for centuries to treat insomnia, mild anxiety and restlessness. The exact mechanism of action is unknown. However, it may act as a depressant to the central nervous to produce a mild tranquilizing effect. As with melatonin supplements, first talk to your doctor about conflicts with other medications you may be taking.
Tryptophan is one of the 10 essential amino acids that the body uses to synthesize the proteins it needs. It's well-known for its role in the production of nervous system messengers, especially those related to relaxation, restfulness, and sleep.
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Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating slumber. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals your body it's time for bed.
Put your work away at least 1/2 hour before bed (preferably more). This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about what you didn't finish and tomorrow's deadlines.
Sex: Do have pleasurable sex, with a friend or by yourself, before bed. Reaserchers have found that good sex can promote sleep onset and induce deep restful sleep. However Don't, have unpleasing sex before bedtime. If sex leads to dissatisfaction, anxiety or disagreements it will diminish your good nights rest.
So there you have it, try a few of these suggestions out after talking to your doctor and see if you don't catch a few more zzzzzzz. Good Luck ...
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