With the National Sleep Foundation reporting that six out of ten Americans suffer with insomnia several nights a week and 25% of the U.S. population uses sleeping drugs (known as “hypnotics”), an increasing number of people these days are looking for natural sleep remedies. In recent research studies, it was discovered that both walnuts and tart cherries contain significant levels of the natural sleep hormone melatonin, and may therefore be a natural, food-based way to get a better night’s sleep.
Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist oxidative stress caused by toxic molecules called free radicals. Walnuts also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer and to keep the heart healthy.”
Melatonin is best known as a sleep remedy. It is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. At night or in the dark, the pineal gland releases melatonin to regulate the sleep cycle. The body produces less melatonin with advancing age. While melatonin doesn’t require a prescription, it is a potent hormone. If too much is taken, it can make it more difficult to wake up and may result in daytime grogginess. It is best used under the supervision of a doctor. Nutritionists recommend that melatonin is best consumed as part of a whole food or whole food supplement.
In another study done at the University Of Texas Health Science Center, researchers discovered that the tart “Montmorency” cherry also contains a significant level of melatonin. Cherries are available in concentrated supplement form and can be taken in the evening to improve the quality of sleep. Other ways cherries can be eaten include dried cherries, frozen cherries and cherry juice. You can add dried cherries to yogurt, granola, salads and baked foods. Cherry juice should be diluted with water or sparkling water as it is high in natural sugars.
The brain can also be assisted in its melatonin production by taking calcium supplements. William Sears, M.D. writes: "Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods." It's important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results.
Digestibility and absorption are important factors in selecting the best forms of calcium and magnesium to use. For example, Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs is a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium. These are the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia. It also contains vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with natural rice bran oil, making it better assimilated than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
L.R.C. of Massachusetts says: "I had become dependent on sleeping drugs and couldn’t sleep without them. Now I take the Sleep Minerals before bed and I can sleep through the whole night without drugs. I’m also able to easily fall back to sleep if I do have to get up. Another benefit is this helps alleviate my chronic fatigue and aches and pains.”
So, if insomnia and sleeplessness have troubled you, be sure to keep your cupboard stocked with natural sleep remedies and use them well to make insomnia a thing of the past.
For more information on Sleep Minerals II click here.