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If you have read my previous posts you will know I’m not a great lover of Sleeping Pills. I was basically semi-addicted to them for years and even now, 7 years later, I still have to use them sometimes. The problem with them is they are detrimental to your health and they are very very addictive. I have heard of one sad story where a celebrity started on one Sleeping pill and ended up needing 7 to get through the night. Obviously that an extreme case, but I quite vividly remember using 2 myself on a particularly bad night.
The trouble is, as you use them, your body reacts less well to them meaning you need more to get the same amount of sleep. This is obviously not a good situation and once you are in this position it’s very difficult to get out of. This is why it’s very important to start to think of food as an aid to your sleep. I have done many personal studies on this and I have found one of the problems is that some of the foods mentioned aren’t exactly what you would eat a few hours before bed, such as Flax Seeds & Pumpkin Seeds. Well, I certainly wouldn’t. So in the following list I may add my personal favourite 9 foods that help you sleep better.
Why do we need foods for better sleep?
This is a question I asked myself some time ago. The answer is that Sleep Deprivation can be caused by a lack of certain nutrients, Selenium deficiency for example can cause problems with your sleep. Selenium is vital for your Immune & Thyroid Function, so any deficiency could well affect your sleep in various degrees. The problem is that great sources of Selenium based foods are Beef, Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seeds and Oysters. Not exactly the going to bed supper I was thinking might help. So let’s try to be realistic about this with my 9 foods that help you sleep better & through the night.
Bananas contain Potassium & Magnesium, both of which help with muscle relaxation. They also contain an Amino Acid called L-Tryptophan. This in turn creates Serotonin (a neuro relaxer) and Melatonin (which helps to control your sleep cycle and wake up times) so as you can see, Bananas are a great way to aid your sleep and very easy to take before bed without getting that bloated “wish I hadn’t of ate that before bed” feeling. I highly recommend a Banana before bed, I have found 30 mins before the most beneficial.
I love Cherries more than Bananas, but I find they aren’t as effective. But I do sometimes take both, or a Banana with a little Cherry Juice. Don’t forget, you can mix these foods up in a juicer and get all that extra benefit. Cherries naturally contain Melatonin, which we already know is good news for our sleep. Grapes also contain Melatonin, but you have to eat twice as many for the same effect, so stick to a handful of Cherries or some Sherry Juice 1 hour before bed.
3. Porridge with warm milk
Now, if you can stomach this so late at night, this would be my number one. I find warm milk quite relaxing and Milk contains L-Tryptophan, like Bananas, so is quite important to Sleep production. Porridge contains Melatonin and Vitamin B6 (anti-stress vitamin) The only problem is some people who are already experiencing Sleep problems, tend to go on a diet at some stage and then ditch the Milk. However, if you still have Milk in your diet this is a must try for you.
As a Carbohydrate, Toast causes a spike in blood sugar levels. This means you feel a dash of energy, then quickly become tired. Obviously at night, taken 30 mins before bed, this should make you nice and sleepy. I have tried it and it does work. I sometimes put some Banana on the toast for extra advantage sleep!
I had read good reports before I tried this, but I didn’t get the greatest sleep. This may just have been me. I suppose I am putting it in because of the good reports from others who have tried it. It won’t hurt to try to I guess I will give it another go at some stage.
I know it’s loaded with L-Tryptophan again, so it should work really well. In fact I think I just ate some Turkey slices when I perhaps should have added some Toast or Cherry Juice maybe?
6. Chamomile Tea
I like this. I often have a cup 30 mins before bed and I feel it relaxes me nicely. It’s basically a mild tranquilizer without the bad side effects as it’s Herbal. Add in the fact that it’s supposed to be good for Stomach Cramps and Migraine and it’s an easy choice for me. Apparently it contains a Natural nutrient Flavonoid which produces the tranquil state.
Honey contains our old favourite L-Tryptophan again. This promotes good sleep. It also contains natural antioxidants so for me it’s a no brainer entry. I add one teaspoon to my Chamomile Tea 30 mins before bed with this.
I like nuts, but I always feel I’m ruining my diet by taking them. Almonds certainly aren’t my favourite tasting nuts, but they are definitely the best for you as they contain our old friend L-Tryptophan but also Magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant. You won’t do yourself any harm by trying them.
I have saved my favourite for last. I love cereal. All sorts. So I can honestly say this is my favourite maybe with a slice or two of banana on top. Trouble is, again, I feel I am ruining my diet so I don’t use it very often at night, when it’s supposed to be best for you. When I have tried it I feel my sleep has been more rested. So although I feel ever so slightly guilty about eating it, I do sleep better. I think you have to try everything to beat the Insomnia and this fits the bill as easy to set up and eat. Once again, contains our old friend Tryptophan.
I have added a bonus tip and it doesn’t come under the “foods that help you sleep better” umbrella as it’s not a food!
Well, it’s a plant. But were not going to eat it, where going to smell it. I really didn’t think this would work, but my partner bought me a Diffuser of Lavender and placed it next to my bed and that same night I slept better than I had for years. You have to remember to open the Diffuser spray part but it releases throughout the night and definitely seems to work. Can’t say that it does every night but in general seems to be helping. So I hope it works for you too!
The problem I find with all the surveys I have read is they are all guessing at what should work. They don’t seem to have tried their selves. So that’s why I made this blog. I have tried all these Foods. I can’t honestly say that any of them have completely eradicated my sleep problems on their own, but I firmly believe that they have helped and that they will aid your recovery, maybe some of them, maybe all of them even.
It’s all trial and error as I’m sure you will know. Try something, if it aids great, keep using it, if it doesn’t, put it away for a while and maybe try again sometime.
Don’t give up on anything. Just try to compromise a little.
You may now wish to view my post “Ditch these 9 foods“