Sleeping Help You Need to Eat for a Fantastic Time in Bed (Part I)
We are actually delving into foods that help improve sleeping here. Perhaps, you had other thoughts…That being said, for those of us with insomnia, restful sleep can top sex. I did some digging and can happily report there are pill free answers. Read on for the results.
Like so many of you, I have a really hard time falling asleep. Being a Kitchologist, I decided I would look to food as a way to resolve this problem. So, aside from limiting caffeinated drinks like coffee and Red Bull, I started at the beginning…which for me…
It starts with the brain (minus one scarecrow in Oz)
Do note! I promise to end the following technical explanation with a more simple ending. So, without further ado…
“Normal” (pre energy drinks or binge watching Netflix’s Stranger Things) sleep is defined as awake during daylight hours and asleep at night in the dark. Light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye’s retina to the brain’s hypothalamus where the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) operates. The SCN initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature, thirst, hunger, emotions and yes, sleep. It also controls the pineal gland or conarium. That gland releases Melatonin into the blood whose levels rise in the evening and fall in the morning.
Reducing stress also improves sleep. Serotonin plays a major part in mood, anxiety, appetite, sex drive and yes, sleep. Mood-altering drugs like LSD cause a massive rise in serotonin levels. But, for today’s purposes we’re looking at more legit alternative sources.
In the end, it all leads to finding foods that increase serotonin, melatonin and efficiently pass into the blood stream. Note, there are other nutrients with inherent sedative properties. They will be discussed in a subsequent article.
Melatonin is found in nature. It turns out a uniquely good source of this substance is in cherries. In particular, researchers found tart cherries contain a class of compounds, called super oxide dismutase, that removes free radicals from the body. Cherries also have a low glycemic index. So, say yes to cherries and better sleep! The Montmorency cherry is a variety of sour cherry grown in Canada, France, and the US, particularly in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Melatonin and serotonin are synthesized by the body under the right conditions. Tryptophan is a precursor to these. It’s found infoods like nuts and lean meats (think turkey) amongst others.
Vitamin B6 is required in creating the “-tonin pair”, as I call them.
Nuts, leafy vegetables, lean meats and different fish also have the right the nutrients.
To facilitate the conversion process between key nutrients, calcium and some carbohydrates with a high glycemic index can help. Aside from dairy, Calcium is also present in nuts, some fish and tahini.
The bottom line…if you know where to look, there really is a sleep recipe! Guess what? There’s much more…
Every good story needs a villain. We have plenty of those.
Alright…Eating the right food combos puts you to sleep. Well, eating the wrong foods keeps you up. Avoid this list of foods in red below too close to bedtime. Here are the worst repeat offenders:
For our next installment we will discuss those additional nutrients alluded to above and where to find them. One was actually compared to Opium! If you like food mapping before napping we’ll be revealing a fascinating state study that ranks best to worst sleepers. Stay tuned for that one!
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