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Nutrients to Improve Your Sleep
- Natural supplements to improve sleep:
- Combined with a balanced diet and regular healthy exercises, these should bring about better sleep
The average adult needs at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily. Most of us would love to get that much sleep and are lucky to get 6 hours, with or without interruptions. Getting a good night’s sleep has become a huge industry with people paying thousands of dollars for the perfect mattress and filling prescriptions on a regular basis for sleeping pills. But you don’t have to spend that type of money or risk becoming addicted to sleeping pills in order to get the rest you need. Sometimes, all you have to do is change your diet.
Research and anecdotal findings have shown a connection between certain types of nutrients and chemicals found in foods that can actually improve your sleep habits. The good news is that most of them are easy to add to your diet, too. Listed below are a few of the findings:
If you want to try out one of nature’s sedatives, tryptophan is the best choice. This amino acid can already be found in your body because it is a necessary ingredient in the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the brain which causes us to feel peaceful and sleepy. Interestingly, you’ll find tryptophan in foods that are rich in animal protein, such as turkey. Ever wonder why everyone felt so drowsy after a big Thanksgiving meal? The answer is tryptophan. However, if you want to make
sure that tryptophan gets to your brain, combine it with a food high in carbohydrates.
Some good foods sources of tryptophan include chicken, fish, and turkey, as well as milk and dairy products. Combine these with a carbohydrate, such as bread, crackers, or fruit to improve your night time sleep. There is always the warm glass of milk before bed, that many generations have claimed as the trick for a good nights sleep.
If you’re looking for an herb that might be able to improve your sleep at night, consider valerian. This herb has been recognized as a sedative for centuries and is now becoming more widely available as a dietary supplement. Like tryptophan, valerian seems to aid in the process of sleep by working with one of the neurotransmitters in our brains (GABA) which help increase relaxation and sleepiness. Taking between 400 to 900 milligrams daily or brewing a tea made from dried valerian, a few hours before bedtime, has helped many people sleep better.
While valerian can be helpful, the herb does have some potential side effects, such as dizziness and headaches. Do not combine valerian with any other type of sedatives, prescription or over the counter types, and you may want to discuss the herb with your doctor before you consider taking it if you have any chronic medical conditions.
Known affectionately as the sleep hormone, melatonin has received a lot of attention in recent years for its effects on our nighttime habits. In fact, one of the reasons we have more trouble sleeping well as we get older is due to the reduction of me latonin in our bodies as we age. Melatonin controls our body’s internal time clock. It acts like an alarm clock telling us when to go to sleep and when to wake up. While the research on the effectiveness of increasing our intake of melatonin is mixed, trying it out for a month or two, might be useful for you. The best form of melatonin that will help you fall asleep quickly, is the fast release form and to help you stay asleep is the sustained release form. Daily intake of melatonin should be 3 milligrams a day or less based on your doctor?s recommendation. The reported side effects of melatonin have been nausea, headache and dizziness. If the effects are too uncomfortable or you?re not seeing results in a couple of weeks, stop taking the melatonin.
These are just three of the herbs or nutrients that can help improve your sleep. Combining these with a balanced diet, restricted consumption of caffeine and alcohol prior to bedtime, and regular exercise will help bring about better sleep.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Sleeping Disorders20 Oct 2008|