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INSOMNIA

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Milk and honey
  • Turkey sandwich
  • Banana

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • Women
  • Anyone under a lot of stress
  • People with depression
  • Those who are overweight and obese, especially if they have sleep apnea
  • People who have pain such as from arthritis, heartburn, a sore back, headache, or fibromyalgia
    There’s more to insomnia than just trouble falling asleep
    Some people fall asleep just fine, but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep
    Others sleep through the night but wake too early in the morning
    And still others appear to sleep through the night with no problem, but never wake rested
    Insomnia can be one of the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or stress, or it can be caused by a medical problem
    Overcoming the underlying cause of these disorders is essential to improving the quality of sleep, but attention to nutrition and other aspects of sleep hygiene can also help

    Nutrition Connection

    Better nutrition and a few tips can help you sleep better
    Here’s how: Sip warm milk and honey
    Milk contains sleep-inducing tryptophan, which works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural sedative, in the brain
    But you need carbs—like honey—to get tryptophan into your brain
    A turkey sandwich provides another sleep-inducing combination of tryptophan and carbohydrates
    A banana with milk gives you vitamin B6, which helps convert tryptophan to serotonin
    Watch your nighttime eating and drinking
    A light snack at bedtime can promote sleep, but too much food can cause digestive discomfort that leads to wakefulness People who suffer from heartburn or acid reflux should especially avoid late, heavy meals that delay the emptying of the stomach
    Stop drinking any fluids a couple of hours before bed to reduce the chances of having to get up in the night
    Avoid caffeine and alcohol
    Caffeine is known to affect the quality of sleep so it’s best to cut it out about 8 hours before bed
    Alcohol may make you sleepy but it can disrupt REM sleep and also dehydrate you, leaving you more tired the next day

    Beyond the Diet

    Manage stress
    If anxiety is keeping you up at night, try yoga, meditation, or a journal
    Check your medications
    Many medications can interfere with sleep, including beta-blockers, thyroid medication, decongestants, corticosteroids, medications with caffeine, and certain antidepressants like the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    Talk to your doctor about changing dosages or medication
    Create a bedtime ritual
    Go to sleep and get up at about the same times every day, and follow the same bedtime preparations each night, such as a reading in bed, or listening to soothing music
    But avoid scary movies or novels
    Take a hot bath
    A study published in the journal Sleep found that women with insomnia who took a hot bath for about 90 to 120 minutes slept much better that night

    QUICK TIP:

    Try the herb valerian Valerian that is brewed into a tea or taken as a capsule or tincture can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and produce a deep, satisfying rest
    Melatonin can also help induce sleep
    Make your bedroom sleep friendly
    Keep it dark, quiet, and cool
    Use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex, not for working or watching TV
    Avoid late-night news casts, scary movies, and Stephen King novels