Restless nights, not getting enough sleep? Leaving you tired and moody the next day! Not running at your best? There may be alternatives to sleeping tablets, so give this a try before you resort to your medicine chest.
To help us sleep we need a hormone called trytophan, it’s a calming hormone that then releases serotonin and melatonin into our system. These help us get off to sleep when the light gets low.
Tryptohan loves water and walking! So it’s easy to produce.
Having dim lighting is the hard bit as we live now in a world controlled by 24/7 activity. Bright lights, working on the computer till all hours, watching TV in bed! All these mess with our body clock and no matter how much tryptohan we have, it does not have the opportunity to send the sleep switch if we keep ourselves pumped with ‘light.
So the first few tips are what are called sleep hygiene…..
- Your bedroom is for sleep or sex,
(Ditch the TV or computer from the room)
- Remove as much electrical equipment from your bedroom and never have your mobile phone in there.
- Make sure it is dark, invest in heavier curtains.
- Is it quiet, or would ear plugs help to give you the peace you need?
- If you are lying in bed awake for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and go and sit in a dark room. Your bed is not for lying on, it is for sleeping!
- Don’t fret that you only had 5 hours sleep, instead thank your body for giving you the amount of sleep you need. That way your body accepts the praise and recognisies that you can have more of this sleep.
Now some food tips, some of these come from the Channel 4 programme Food Hospital. They may disagree with diet advice on supporting your adrenal glands, so you may need to choose.
The food hospital recommended carbohydrates 5 hours before bedtime as these help to slow the body down. They suggested potatoes, crackers, white bread and brown rice. You need to consider what you eat with them though as you don’t want to increase your sugar levels. So becareful if medical advice stops you doing this.
The idea is to eat foods that increase your magnesium, B6 both of which lead to increased serotonin and calm your liver so here are a few ideas.
- Milk – helps increase serotonin levels
- Honey – helps produce tryptohan
- Bananas – B6 which may increase serotonin levels
- Kiwi Fruit – source of magnesium and may help with constipation (2 a day)
- Lettuce – contains lactucarium an excellent natural sedative
- tuna – B6 which may increase serotonin levels
- chicken – B6 which may increase serotonin levels
- spinach – B6 which may increase serotonin levels
- cucumber – cools the liver
So my friend who told me that when she can’t sleep she nips to the (darkened) kitchen to make a lettuce sandwich and then sits for a while in the dark – is probably right on with her cure!
Remember you may need to see a Doctor for full advice, these are just some things you could try if you wish.