Having trouble sleeping? Many factors can contribute to tossing and turning at night, however, one important factor is the food you choose to eat for supper.
Your evening meal choices really can make or break a great night’s sleep.
Sleepless nights can take a toll on your health. Studies have found that inadequate sleep can interfere with digestion, detoxification, weight loss, immune system function, and can throw blood sugar levels off balance.
Quality sleep promotes optimal physical and mental well-being, including a lower risk of infections, youthful looking skin and increased mental clarity.
When planning your next evening meal, consider adding the following six ingredients:
Dark, leafy greens: Organic kale, collard greens, dandelion greens and other dark green, leafy vegetables are rich in calcium, and insufficient calcium levels have been linked to difficulty falling asleep.
Grass-fed dairy products are also beneficial to sleep for this reason. Dandelion greens have the added bonus of liver-cleansing properties. A healthy liver contributes to balanced blood sugar and hormonal levels, which are key to a sound sleep.
Chickpeas: Besides being a great source of protein, chickpeas are filled with vitamin B6, which aids the body in producing melatonin. Melatonin is known as the ‘sleep hormone,’ as it is stimulated by darkness and signals your body that it is time to sleep. Melatonin has also been linked to strong antioxidant properties. Chickpeas are an excellent addition to stews and salads, and of course, are the key ingredient in hummus.
Oily fish: Oily fish, such as wild-caught salmon, tuna and halibut, are high in vitamin B6, and like chickpeas, help the body with melatonin production. These fish also have the benefit of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3’s have been shown to stabilize and lift the mood, which may help ease nighttime anxieties and stresses. If you do not eat fish, flax seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Organic, free-range turkey: Turkey is a well-known source of tryptophan, which is the amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Studies have linked people who suffer from varying levels of insomnia to low serotonin levels.
The turkey may be one big reason that many people enjoy a deeper sleep the night after Thanksgiving. Be sure to choose a turkey that is both organic and free-range.
Pumpkin seeds: Along with containing tryptophan, pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which boosts the brain’s ability to convert tryptophan into serotonin. For this reason, eating pumpkin seeds gives you an even better chance at optimal sleep. Pumpkin seeds can easily be used to top a variety of salads, appetizers, main courses and even – if you wish – healthy desserts.
Tart cherry juice: Tart cherry juice has been shown to boost melatonin levels. It has also been found by several studies to have significant effects against insomnia. One small study gave adults with chronic insomnia a cup of tart cherry juice twice per day.
The participants reported a decrease in the severity of their symptoms over time. This delicious, sour beverage can be enjoyed with dinner, or right before you brush your teeth and hop into bed.
When preparing your suppers, keep in mind that a combination of organic protein and healthy, saturated fats is important to keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the night. This allows your liver to release stored sugars as they are needed. This process promotes quality sleep.
Experiment with the above-listed ingredients, and try to go to bed an hour earlier, if possible. Add some deep breathing or meditation before bed, and you’ll be off to dreamland.
-The Alternative Daily