We all toss and turn every once in a while as we struggle to drift off to la la land.
T.R., a FitPerez reader from Florida, is regularly suffering sleepless nights and wrote certified nutritional therapy practitioner Margaux J. Rathbun for some nutritious advice, asking:
"Hi Margaux! Lately, I have been having a really hard time going to sleep at night. I can't seem to get tired and I just don't want to take any sleeping pills. Are there any foods or natural ways that I can get a good night’s sleep? Thanks!"
Hi T.R. and thanks for your question.
You are not alone with having trouble sleeping at night. Between work, family life and the mind racing with all of our to-do lists, it’s amazing that we even have time for the 4-5 hours of rest most of us are getting (the majority of adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night). Fortunately, there are some natural and nutritional ways to help you fall and stay asleep at night:
* Try eating a handful of fresh cherries. They are full of naturally-occurring melatonin which helps us fall asleep.
* Take a warm Epsom salt bath before bed. The natural magnesium will enter your skin to relax your muscles and help you sleep.
* Just like cherries, walnuts are a good source of sleep-promoting melatonin and other beneficial nutrients. To help promote relaxation before bedtime, eat a small serving of raw walnuts. You can also find natural sleep-aid supplements that contain walnuts.
* If you have a green-thumb and have an herb garden, be sure to plant some basil. This fragrant, bright green plant has sedative properties, which makes it a great food for helping us to sleep. Try making some homemade pesto!
* If you are experiencing insomnia, try eating dates, figs, bananas, nut butter, tuna, or turkey at least 2 hours before bedtime. These foods are rich in tryptophan which is shown to promote sleepiness.
* Don’t eat large meals before bedtime and avoid caffeine and alcohol four to six hours before sleeping.
* If you are a tea drinker, try brewing a cup of chamomile tea to help you relax. You can add some honey to it if you wish for a sweeter taste.
* Get outside and exercise in the morning. A “sunlight break” promotes sleep 12 hours later and keeps circadian rhythm regular. Take a calm stroll before bedtime.
We hope you can finally get a good night's rest, T.R.!
For more nutrition tips, check out Margaux's website and write Tips@FitPerez.com with any questions for her!