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article imageA psychotherapist's foods for a better night's sleep Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 8, 2021 in Health
Many people suffer from poor sleep. To mark National Sleep Awareness week, which falls in mid-March, a leading therapist looks at how food affects sleep, detailing foods to avoid and foods that can help with getting better sleep.
U.S. National Sleep Awareness Week runs between March 14-20 each year. The aim is to remind people about the importance of sufficient sleep and with obtaining good quality sleep. Sleep is one of the most influential factors in shaping overall health and wellbeing. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of heart and blood vessels. In addition, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. However, for many, sleep does not come easily, in either quality or quantity.
There are different strategies to adopt to improve sleep. These include sleeping aids and essential oils and more. Furthermore, food can affect sleep quality, for good or for bad.
Dr. Teralyn Sell, a psychotherapist, tells Digital Journal that many of the U.S. population "say that lack of sleep impacts the quality of their lives at least one or two days per week."
Sell is of the view that the food and drink people consume affects sleep, with the things to avoid being made up of caffeine, sugar and alcohol. People who have diets high in sugar tend to sleep less deeply and display greater restlessness at night. In addition, low fiber and high saturated fat intake is also associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals.
Caffeine is a natural psychoactive substance, and the concern in relation to sleep and the consumption of caffiene products late at night is that caffeine blocks adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a sleep-promoting chemical that is produced in the brain during our waking hours.
The relationship between alcohol and sleep is more complex. Alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing a person to fall asleep more quickly. However, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. Hence, alcohol can cause sleep disruption.
In contrast to the problem foods and drinks, what are the foods that can help to promote a good night’s rest? Sell has provided Digital Journal readers with five foods to help promote a better nights sleep naturally. These are:
Collagen Protein
Proteins, such as collagen protein and poultry, have amino acids that break down into tryptophan. Tryptophan eventually creates serotonin and then melatonin which helps you sleep. Protein is taken before bed also helps to stabilize blood sugar keeping you asleep all night.
Chamomile tea
Chamomile is a calming herb that has been shown to help with insomnia or disturbed sleep. It has been studied and found to be an anxiolytic and an antidepressant,
Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium. Magnesium is a natural relaxer. Taking a magnesium supplement before bed or soaking in Epsom salts can help you relax before bed and fall asleep easier. Magnesium has also been shown to help reduce restless leg syndrome which can impair sleep.
Tart Cherry
Several research articles have been published that link drinking tart cherry juice to improved sleep. Tart cherry has a concentration of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythm and can help to promote healthy sleep.
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is considered an anxiolytic, which can be very calming and help you relax before bed. It can also help you to stabilize blood sugar so you can experience a restful night’s sleep.
More about Sleep, Food, Healthy eating, Rest
 
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