April 21, 2015 4:57 pm Leave your thoughts
If you’re having difficulty sleeping, you might be tempted to reach for an artificial aid to help you pop off…If, however, you generally have a fairly natural or organic lifestyle, you’re unlikely to feel truly rested if you’re relying on chemicals for a good night’s sleep.
What could you take instead?
We’ve done some research!
- Dairy products: these are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin and melatonin, the chemicals in the brain that induce sleep. Hence a warm glass of milk is often advised before bedtime.
- Other foods rich in tryptophan: oats, peanuts, walnuts and tuna are all good sources of this. Walnuts are particularly worth a mention, as they contain their own source of melatonin too.
- Foods rich in magnesium and calcium: these two minerals work together to calm the body and help to relax muscles. If your diet is lacking in these, you might find you drop off, only to wake in the night and be unable to get back to sleep. Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan, while magnesium works together with it to prevent insomnia. Dairy products are rich in calcium of course, as are cereals, soy milk, sardines, salmon and tofu, while for magnesium, make sure your diet has plenty of nuts, seeds, fish and wholegrains in it.
- Foods rich in iron: a shortage of iron can cause insomnia and restlessness at night. Iron-rich foods include kidney beans, dried figs, dried apricots, oatmeal, rye, soybeans, lentils, tofu, blackstrap molasses, quinoa, chickpeas and pinto beans.
- Carbohydrates: it’s hard to sleep on an empty stomach, and if you’ve been tossing and turning for hours, you’re going to be peckish anyway. Eating a snack rich in carbohydrates about an hour before going to bed stimulates the release of insulin. This helps to clear your body of the amino acids that compete with tryptophan (another sleep-inducing amino acid), allowing more of this to enter the brain. Oatcakes, cereal, wholemeal bread or some leftover wholegrains would all do the trick. Honey, which also stimulates the release of insulin, is worth a try too. Perhaps a spoonful poured into one of the teas noted below!
- Herbal teas: chamomile is a famously soothing and relaxing tea and we stock a good range of this. Valerian also has noted sedative qualities and can be found in our Sleepytime Extra range from Celestial Seasonings and the Vespers pack (great name) from Dr Stuarts. Pukka Nighttime Tea, with organic oatflower, lavender and limeflower, could be just the ticket too.
- Lavender oil: a drop or two on your pillow might well help you drift off to sleep. And if it’s children you’re trying to calm down, try the Green People range of natural children’s toiletries, containing lavender.
Lack of sleep is a truly horrible experience. If counting sheep just isn’t working for you, try one of these suggestions instead!Tags: blackstrap molasses, Celestial Seasonings, cereal, chamomile, chickpeas, children, Dr Stuart, dried apricots, dried figs, fish, green people, herbal teas, honey, kidney beans, lavender, lavender essential oil, lentils, natural toiletries, Nuts, oatcakes, oatmeal, oats, peanuts, pinto beans, pukka, Pukka Nighttime, quinoa, rye, salmon, sardines, Seeds, Sleepytime Extra, soy milk, soybeans, tofu, tuna, Vespers, walnuts, wholegrains
This post was written by Yzanne