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Fight Insomnia With These Foods
by Chris Malone,posted Mar 27 2013 5:18AM
Tossing and turning when you should be sleeping is not fun. Did you know that certain foods are conducive to sound slumber? Include more of these healthy foods in your diet for a good night's sleep.
"Turkey is rich in the amino acid tryptophan which helps promote a restful, deep sleep. Tryptophan itself doesn't make you sleepy," says Horn. It helps the brain make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is necessary for sleep and relaxation, and melatonin, a neurohormone that has recently become popular as a supplemental sleep aid.
Despite being maligned by the low-carb movement, potatoes rank low on the Glycemic Index, a ranking of carbohydrates and their effect on blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are a root vegetables that won't spike your blood sugar too high and can even help eliminate acids that block tryptophan. Make mashed potatoes with low-fat milk or buttermilk for a healthy sleep-inducing meal.
Bananas are a natural sleeping aid in that they contain melatonin and tryptophan (which converts to serotonin) to help you fall asleep. "Melatonin is a hormone that signals the brain that it's time for the body to shut down for the night," explains Horn. Plus, these creamy-fleshed fruits also contain magnesium, which is a known muscle relaxer to help you ease away physical tension and stress.
Mothers have been giving kids warm milk before bed for years. "Warm milk is another rich source of tryptophan, which is soothing and will help your body relax," says Horn. Be warned, however, "The combination of turkey and milk together can turn you into a bit of a gassy lassie," says Horn. "Do not try this out if you're in a new relationship!"
Oatmeal not only warms your belly, it's full of fiber, which can make you feel satisfied before heading to bed. A steamy bowl of cooked oats is also a good source of melatonin. Drizzle your bowl of oatmeal with warm milk for an extra dose of sleep-inducing nutrition.
Supplements to help you sleep
If all else fails, you can take mineral supplements that will help ease you to sleep without the negative side effects of prescription sleeping aids.
Horn recommends these supplements as a natural way to get your Z's:
"Or taking an Epsom salt bath before bed is another wonderful source of magnesium -- some of which gets absorbed via the skin," says Horn. "Dump two cups of salts into a warm bath and soak for 15 minutes. Gorgeous you!"
Changing your diet, taking supplements and soaking in a bath are easy and natural ways to ensure you get the sleep you need.