Thursday, February 14, 2013

9 Ways to Sleep Better, Naturally

Having a hard time falling asleep at night?  Or maybe you keep flailing around and waking yourself up.  Is your brain going so hard that sleep seems like it may never come?  Well give a few of these time tested suggestions a try...


Bananas and cashews

Nuts!Many Americans have low levels of serotonin.  Low levels can cause fatigue, insomnia, and depression.  High levels can result in high energy levels, increased tolerance for pain, and a good nights sleep.

Try eating half a banana and a handful of cashews a few minutes before going to bed, as these foods are great at raising serotonin levels.

Other foods that are high in their ability to increase serotonin levels are yams, white fish, sweet potatoes, chicken, and squash.


Magnesium

Bananas 1
Magnesium is often used to help people sleep better. If you are, or someone you sleep with is, a "kicker" then you may appreciate this mineral even more.

Studies have shown that magnesium can reduce periodic limb movements that cause sleep disruptions, and may help people suffering from leg cramps.  Many people found that it has helped to improve their quality of sleep.

Some foods that are rich in magnesium are leafy green vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, and kale.  Other foods include bananas, almonds, and  cashews.  (source)


Montmorency Cherries

Cherrys on tree
Photo by hkeller
Apparently these cherries have been found to have high levels of melatonin in them.  Melatonin is naturally occurring in our bodies, but if we don't have enough it can be hard to fall asleep.

The amount of symptoms that melatonin can benefit are really astounding.  For a list, that includes details of how it helps each condition, read more here.  If you or a family member has any condition at all I would check it against this list.  There are studies to back them up as well.





Bumblebee in lavender

Lavender Spray

The scent of lavender is naturally relaxing.  Try mixing a few drops of lavender essetial oil with water, and mist it on your pillow before going to bed.




Journal

Cover CollageYou know those nights when you are trying to fall asleep, but your brain just won't shut off?  Yeah, me too.   How about trying to empty it.

Get some paper and something to write with and go to town.  Write until you can't think of anything else to possible write about.  Your brain should calm down, and off to sleep you go.







Meditation
Photo by Spanishale

Exercise

This isn't something you'd want to do too close to bedtime, as it can actually wake you up.  However getting some exercise during the day can lower stress levels, and relieve muscle tension that can keep you awake at night.  Even just some basic stretching, like yoga, can be very helpful for relaxing.



Gerbera Daisies

FlowersWhile most plants reduce the amount of oxygen they product come night time, the gerbera daisy keeps pumping it out.  This extra production of oxygen can help you sleep and breathe better.






Avoid Sweets and Food Coloring

CupcakeWhile occasional treats usually don't cause issues, regularly consuming foods and drinks that are sweetened can make it harder to calm down and sleep at night.  Food colorings make some people hyper.

 If you're having trouble sleeping try laying off the sweets, food coloring, and I'll add  caffeine, for a while.


B-12

The older you get the less efficient your body becomes at making B-12.  If you are deficient in B-12 it can be hard to get a good nights sleep.  However, once your body has enough you are likely to have more energy, be in a better mood, and have an increased memory.  B-12 plays a vital role in melatonin production.

Meat and Veg.
Photo by BeverlyLR
Vegetarians, and the elderly, are the most likely to be deficient in B-12.  B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal sources.  The type of B-12 found in plants are called B-12 analogs, which block B-12 absorption.  Supplements may be of little use as they aren't absorbed well into the blood stream.

The best sources of B-12 are beef, poultry, lamb's liver, brewer's yeast, clams, eggs, herring, mackerel, kidneys, milk, dairy products, and seafood.  (source)   Dr. Mercola also makes what sounds like a very good spray version of it, that allows for quick absorption into the intestines.


That's all for now.  I hope you all have a great nights sleep!  :)

Sources:
http://healthmad.com/alternative/bananas-and-cashews-natural-aphrodisiacs/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/138374-foods-that-help-you-sleep-well/
http://www.naturalnats.com/2012/11/a-hidden-winter-danger.html
http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-b12-spray/

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*The above information is not medical advice.  For a diagnosis contact a doctor.  The information is shared for the purposes of education and discussion.










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