Eat These Nutrients If You Suffer From Insomnia
Written by: Brandi Monasco
Do you ever feel like you just cannot fall asleep at night? You just lay there for hours upon hours staring at the wall or the ceiling, hoping that you will fall asleep soon? What about falling asleep, but waking up a few hours later and not being able to go back to sleep?
If this happens more than just once a week, you might suffer from insomnia.
The clinical definition of insomnia, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, includes “feeling impaired during the daytime or stressed by the condition.” This same manual also states that “with true insomnia, the symptoms persist for at least a month and do not occur along with another sleep disorder, mental disorder, medical condition, or substance abuse.”
About 1 in 3 people have a mild form of insomnia. It can leave you feeling miserable, run-down and even irritated because you are not fully rested. If you suffer from insomnia, you might have problems concentrating during the day and may even feel depressed or anxious.
What you eat before bed can either keep you awake or give you a sweet and peaceful sleep. When you eat before bed, blood is drawn away from your brain, resulting in a tired and sleepy feeling. Blood glucose levels are also found to be the main trigger of the brain cells that keep you awake at night. When you go to bed with an empty stomach, your blood glucose levels are low and this can make your brain cells more active, keeping you awake at night.
The next time you feel as if you cannot go to sleep, get out of bed and head to the kitchen and eat a few of these foods that contain these essential minerals to help you get to sleep!
- Magnesium. In order to sleep, your body needs a good dose of magnesium. It helps promote muscle relaxation and allows you to sleep. Having low magnesium levels will stimulate your brain neurotransmitters and can lead to overstimulation of the brain. This means that if you do not have enough magnesium in your body for sleep, your brain is just going to constantly run.
Foods that include magnesium are:
- Dark Leafy Greens (such as spinach)
- Nuts and Seeds
- Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is made by your pineal gland located in the center of your brain. Melatonin is what controls your body’s sleep and waking cycle. When the sun goes down, your pineal gland produces more melatonin, signaling that you should start getting sleepy soon, which usually occurs around 9pm. The increase of melatonin will stay in your blood levels for about 12 hours. When the sun comes up, the levels of melatonin will decrease, signaling that it is time to wake up and you will feel more alert.
Foods that contain melatonin and are great for helping you sleep include:
- Sweet Corn
If you are currently experiencing insomnia or have in the past, it is always a good idea to stay away from food and drinks that can trigger your insomnia. One of those drinks is, of course, coffee. While coffee is great for your body and provides many health benefits, it is not so great at helping you sleep. Another food to avoid is chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine just as coffee does. Anything with caffeine, or even alcohol will disrupt your sleep.
Do you have any favorite nighttime remedies to help you sleep better? Please share with us in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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