Sleep Diet

Have you ever heard of a sleep diet? I know you you have heard about the Atkins Diet, a low carb diet, an anti-inflammatory diet and a raw food diet. Did you know that what you eat really does make a difference in how you sleep?

Let me give you examples of foods and drinks that foster sleep and those that interfere with sleep quality.

Sugar and Sleep

A friend of mine whose mother was in her 80's was really struggling with insomnia. She had been to the doctor many times and had tried several sleep prescriptions with very little relief and with some troubling side effects.

sugar and sleep

I started asking her about her diet and what she ate, especially in the evening. When I found out her nightly habit was to watch TV and eat a large bag of sugar candy, I gently suggested that all that sugar could be one of her problems.

Unfortunately she did not want to give up the candy and she is still having trouble with her sleep today.

Sugar and processed foods overstimulate the body and can prevent us from falling asleep.

A diet rich in fresh, unprocessed foods is not only good for a healthy body, but also good for our sleep.

Fats and Sleep

You may be surprised to find out that a diet that includes healthy fats can contribute to a better night's sleep. Dr. Sandra Cabot, the author of Tired of not Sleeping?, writes, "I have found that the most common nutritional deficiencies in those with ...insomnia are fats, omega 3 fatty acids and phospholipids, vitamin C, and the minerals magnesium and selenium."

Some good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, tuna, green leafy vegetables and omega 3 eggs, and high quality fish oil supplements.

Caffeine and Chocolate

caffeine and chocolate

Wouldn't you know my favorite dessert is chocolate. But it is not my friend when evening comes.

I have learned that if I want to enjoy a bite of a chocolate bar - and I love the intense dark chocolate - to have it by early afternoon.

Even a cup of hot cocoa in the evening has kept me awake.

And to think I used to be able to drink regular caffeinated coffee with any dessert in the evening and go to sleep an hour later.

Enjoy your chocolate - just not in the evening.

Tea for Sleep

I have given up all coffee (regular and decaf) and caffienated teas - morning, afternoon and evening. As we age we become more sensitive to caffeine side effects. For me, regular coffee makes me more hyper and jittery. As someone who seems to always be in overdrive, I like teas or drinks that help to calm and relax me.

tea for sleep

I love the taste of Yogi Bedtime Tea. This sleep aid tea contains natural ingredients like valerian root, Passion flower extract, organic Chamomile flower, and organic lavender flower. It tastes great thanks to ingredients like organic spearmint leaf, organic cinnamon bark and stevia leaf.

I drink it during the day instead of coffee or other teas and at bedtime. To get the most benefit from this tea for sleep, steep it for 5-10 minutes. If you want a stronger tea, use two tea bags. Incorporate herbal caffeine free teas as part of your sleep diet.

Talk to your doctor before taking this tea if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs.

Organic Chamomile Tea for Sleep

Teas can actually help to calm your nervous system.

Chamomile tea is one of them.  I like the Traditional Medicine brand for my teas because they are certified organic and full of natural ingredients.  I drink it during the day and at bedtime and found that it  actually helps with my sleeplessness.

You can find this brand in the stores but the 6 pack of 16 pouches from Amazon is the best price I've found.  Since I drink this morning and night, I appreciate the cost savings.

Traditional Medicinals Organic, Chamomile Tea

Kava Herbal Tea

I'm always looking for ways to reduce my "hyperness" and after reading about the benefits of Kava, wanted to give it a try.

First of all don't drink it for it's taste :).  However, you may want to drink it for its ability to promote relaxation.  While not organic, this Yogi brand uses only non-GMO ingredients which are:

The Carob Pod, Indian Sarsaparilla Root, Organic Cinnamon Bark, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Barley Malt, Kava Root Extract, Cardamom Pod, Natural Hazelnut Flavor, Stevia Leaf, Natural Licorice Flavor, Natural Cinnamon Bark Oil.  The other ingredients do help with the flavor.

Disclaimer: Not for use by persons under 18 years of age or by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Do not combine with alcoholic beverages.

Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea

Time Your Supplements

For those who take vitamins and supplements, pay attention to when you take them.

For some sensitive sleep souls, like me, if taken too late in the afternoon or evening, your sleep may be affected.

The exceptions are calcium and magnesium as these minerals help to promote sleep. I always drink a glass of warm water with two teaspoons of Calm before going to bed as part of my "sleep diet."

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