Top Foods That Can Remedy Insomnia and Give Better Sleep

tart cherry juice for sleepInsomnia and sleeplessness are a widespread problem.  Sleep inducing foods and relaxing minerals are a first-line remedy to help people with insomnia to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

There is a helpful chart below that shows twelve ways to use foods as natural sleep aids.  Many of these foods are high in melatonin and magnesium and are supported by research studies.  This article describes many of these sleep-inducing foods in detail and names the studies that support their use in improving sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced in the brain.  At night or in the dark, melatonin is naturally released to regulate the sleep cycle.  A recent study on the use of melatonin-rich foods for sleep appeared in the journal “Nutrients”.  The study was called “Dietary Sources of Melatonin.”

The researchers noted that nuts contain some of the highest quantities of melatonin.  Topping the list are almonds and walnuts.  Almonds deliver a two-part punch as they are also high in magnesium, a mineral known to induce sleep.

Bananas are high in both magnesium and potassium, and each of these minerals are proven to help good sleep in research studies.  The Journal “Sleep” recently reported that the use of potassium for sleep results in significant improvements in quality of sleep and less waking up during the night.

In addition to improving the quality of sleep, potassium has many other valuable health benefits.  Dr. Joseph Mercola writes about potassium in his article: “Potassium Plays a Key Role in Your Everyday Functions.”  He says:

“Sometimes referred to as the “good salt,” potassium is a mineral that helps support a variety of essential body functions, including the contraction of muscles, regulation of body fluids, transmission of nerve impulses, and maintenance of normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels.”

”Since your body does not have the ability to produce potassium naturally, one of the ways for you to maintain optimum levels of it is to eat potassium-rich foods….When it comes to increasing your potassium levels through diet, one of the first foods that may come to mind are bananas — one medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium.”

”However, bananas are far from being your only source of potassium, since you can also obtain this nutrient from the following foods:

  • Beet greens Provides 654 mg of potassium per half-cup.
  • Swiss chard Contains 962 mg of potassium per cup.
  • Acorn squash Provides 996 mg of potassium per cup.
  • Avocado Contains 364 mg of potassium per half-cup.
  • Spinach Contains 740 to 838 mg of potassium per cup.
  • Baked potato flesh and skin – Contains 941 mg in one medium potato.
  • Wild-caught Alaskan salmonProvides 534 mg of potassium per 3-ounce serving.
  • Plain yogurt Contains 579 mg of potassium per cup.”

Continuing on, those experiencing sleeplessness or insomnia should definitely include more of these healthy sources of potassium in their diet.  And even more vital than potassium, the two most famous minerals for calming insomnia are calcium and magnesium.  This is what makes warm milk one of the most popular natural sleep aids.

James F. Balch, M.D, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes that: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”  The European Neurology Journal supports this with their study showing that the normal course of sleep can be restored by increasing calcium levels in the body.

Regarding the use of minerals for insomnia, a study called “The Nutritional Relationships of Magnesium” discusses the differences between calcium and magnesium and their effects on sleep.  The author notes that the type of insomnia associated with a calcium deficiency causes difficulty with falling asleep.

On the other hand, the classical sign of magnesium deficiency is insomnia characterized by falling asleep easily, but awakening frequently throughout the night, with individuals finding themselves tired even after several hours of sleep.

Chronic insomnia is known to be one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Sleep in magnesium deficiency is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. A high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.”

A balanced ratio of calcium to magnesium is important to overall health and the two minerals should be taken together for best results.  The best calcium and magnesium ratio is twice as much calcium as magnesium.

One natural insomnia remedy showing good results is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs.  This natural sleep aid contains potent forms of calcium and magnesium, the best known minerals for relaxation and sleep, as well as for restless leg syndrome, stomach health, teenage insomnia and menopause insomnia.  The ingredients are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbed than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot.  I wake once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours.  This has been a great improvement.”

Sleep inducing foods and minerals are a healthy alternative to taking sleeping drugs. Make good use of them as an insomnia remedy.  Enjoy the chart below and be sure to visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

12 foods that help sleep

Ingredients in Sleep Minerals II Proven Effective as Sleep Aids

sleep minerals iiIngredients in Sleep Minerals II Proven Effective as Natural Sleep Aids

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost six out of ten Americans report having sleep problems and insomnia at least a few nights a week. Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.”

In an effort to combat this, as many as 25 percent of the people in the United States use medications to help them sleep. Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, and impair memory and performance on the job and at home.insomnia woman

From a nutritional perspective, several research studies have shown certain minerals to be effective as natural sleep aids that help people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.

sleeping womanWilliam 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.”

Regarding magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep.

The benefits of magnesium was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.”

Note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together in a two to one ratio for best results (twice as much calcium as magnesium).

Beyond being effective sleep remedies, the health benefits of calcium and magnesiumfoods rich in calcium are many.  Studies have proven calcium to increase bone health, reduce high blood pressure, relax the nerves and muscles, prevent colon cancer and remedy kidney stones. Magnesium is an effective nutrient for strengthening heart health, reducing diabetes, and treating migraines, restlessness and depression.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural ingredients for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural sleep aid which contains absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as rice bran oil have been shown to increase mineral absorption.

Chris M. of the United Kingdom says: “I take one softgel of Sleep Minerals II before bed every night and within 20 minutes I am asleep. The difference in the quality of my sleep and the ease with which I get to sleep using this product is monumental. I have stopped obsessing about sleep or dreading bedtime — I just take a softgel and drift off.  If I stop taking them, within a week my sleep starts to lighten in quality, the amount of my sleep diminishes, and my old insomniac patterns reappear.”

Darleen T. of La Mesa, California says: “I purchased Sleep Minerals for my teenage daughter.  When she started on the minerals she hadn’t been sleeping well for the past couple of years.  She was run down and feeling beyond her years… exhausted.  She is only 18.  Once she started on Sleep Minerals she actually became tired at night, which is new.  She can fall into a restful sleep by 10:30 p.m. and sleep all night. This product is a heaven-send and has given her a life back.”

Natural minerals for sleep that are combined in an effective formula are a much better option then enduring heavy side effects from sleeping drugs.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Insomnia Remedies: The Science Behind Sleep-Inducing Foods

sleep foodsThe type of foods we eat in the evening can have a pronounced effect on the quality of our sleep. One of the keys to a restful night’s sleep is to calm and relax the brain, rather than stimulating it.

Certain foods are a natural insomnia remedy that contributes to restful sleep, while others keep us alert and awake.

The calming foods contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to the sleep-inducing substances serotonin and melatonin.  Two recent studies confirm that eating more carbohydrates than protein increases tryptophan production, while eating a higher protein ratio increases tyrosine – an amino acid related to a stimulated, alert frame of mind.

One key study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is titled “High-Glycemic-Index Carbohydrate Meals Shorten Sleep Onset”. The glycemic index measures the effect of different types of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Researchers at the University of Sydney Australia gave two different kinds of meals to the study participants, a few hours before bedtime. They found that a carbohydrate-based, high glycemic index meal resulted in a significant shortening of the time needed to fall asleep, compared with a low glycemic meal. (Feb. 2007, Vol. 85, No. 2).

In another study done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists honed in on specific measurements of tryptophan vs. tyrosine in the brain, based on whether carbohydrates or proteins were eaten at breakfast.  Blood samples were collected after the meals, and the researchers concluded that a carbohydrate-rich diet raises tryptophan levels, while high-protein foods depress it. (Amer. J. of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 2003, Vol. 77, No. 1).

For those who need to stay alert and sharp during the day, high protein, medium-carbohydrate meals are best eaten for breakfast and lunch. For dinner and bedtime snacks, eat a meal or snack that is high in healthy carbohydrates, with a small amount of protein that contains just enough tryptophan to relax the brain.

According to William Sears, M.D., “The best bedtime snack is one that has both complex carbohydrates and protein, and perhaps some calcium. Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”

Dr. Sears recommends that foods high in carbohydrates and calcium, and medium-to-low in protein, make the most ideal sleep-inducing bedtime snacks. Some examples are whole-grain, gluten-free cereal with milk, oatmeal and raisin cookies with a glass of nutmilk or regular milk, or an almond butter sandwich with ground sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are rich in tryptophan. Other foods that are high in tryptophan, which can be combined with healthy carbohydrates to become natural sleep remedies, are whole grains, lentils, chickpeas, beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, and miso. As always, it’s best to stay away from caffeine, sodas and nicotine in the evening.

The well-known nutritionist Adelle Davis writes about the roles of calcium for sleep in her book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”.  She discusses a natural insomnia remedy and says: “A calcium deficiency often shows itself by insomnia, another form of an inability to relax. The harm done by sleeping tablets, to say nothing of the thousands of dollars spent on them, could largely be avoided if the calcium intake were adequate.”

Sleep remedies containing highly absorbable, quick acting forms of calcium and magnesium, such as Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs can be helpful with both falling asleep and staying asleep during the night.  This natural sleep remedy contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as rice bran oil have been shown to increase mineral absorption and reduce calcium excretion.

P. P. of Houston, TX. says: “I am a physician in Texas. I had developed sleeping problems and took sleep medications for several weeks – Ambien and then Lunesta. I discontinued them and then I had terrible rebound insomnia. At that time, I literally got only about 20 hours of sleep in 6 weeks. I was staring at the ceiling all night long, praying to God for some sleep. Then I found Sleep Minerals II on the Internet. I’ve been taking it for a couple of weeks and now I get a full 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. This is a great way to help people without unhealthy sleep medications. As a doctor, I would never prescribe sleeping drugs – I would recommend Sleep Minerals II.”

In conclusion, bedtime snacks and dinners that are high in carbohydrates, low-to-medium in protein, and contain calcium, will help you relax in the evening and set you up for a good night’s sleep.  And an effective natural sleep remedy such as Sleep Minerals II can also be taken before sleep and during the night if you find yourself waking up and unable to go back to sleep. Here’s to your good sleep.

For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.