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Insomnia Treatment: Diet

Overview

Insomnia may seem to be a complex problem, but you can not underestimate the effectiveness simple measures that may help promote sleep. Assessing your own eating habits, for example, may be helpful in identifying the of the obstacles to a good night sleep.

Foods and habits to avoid

Certain food items eaten at the wrong time can disrupt your sleep and may also cause discomfort. Simply limiting the intake certain foods could be a key to restore sleep.

  • Foods high in caffeine - Caffeine is a known stimulant and has long been linked to many sleep disorders, including insomnia, because of its known physiological effects. Caffeine induces alertness and may keep you awake for hours. It is important to avoid taking food items with caffeine especially in the late afternoon or evening to lower the chance experiencing symptoms of insomnia. Caffeine is found in various food items including: coffee, tea and chocolates.
  • Alcohol - Because it is known to quickly induce sleep, some turn to alcohol as an attempt to combat insomnia. They fail to realize that alcohol can not really provide a restful sleep. Alcohol can dehydrate your body, because of this you fail to get a deep sleep that will rejuvenate you. Because your body will signal you that it needs water, you're likely to wake up just a few hours after drifting in an alcohol-induced sleep
  • Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates - These foods contain simple sugars, because of their chemical make-up, they are easily absorbed by the body. This means instantly giving you a burst of energy and it may disturb your ability to sleep. High sugar foods that you must avoid include: white sugar, commercially baked goods, energy drinks, candies, soda and donuts. Avoid spicy or fatty foods, beans, cabbage and peanuts.
  • Over-consumption - The amount of food you eat and meal timing may also influence your sleep. If you've been having trouble sleeping, avoid large meals and beverages before bedtime. It's fine to have a light snack, but eating too much late in the evening can interfere with sleep. It would also help to drink less before bedtime so that you won't have to do frequent trips to the toilet.

Foods to eat

Certain food items are though to stimulate the production of melatonin and tryptophan. These are chemicals that help your mind and body relax, and get to sleep. One way to beat insomnia is by eating foods rich in tryptophan and melatonin close to bedtime

  • Cherries - Cherries are among the few known food sources of melatonin, the hormone known to influence circadian rhythms and sleep. When the sleep disturbance is causes by change in environment and time zone, such as in jet lag, melatonin may help promote a restful sleep. Although melatonin is commercially available as a supplement, it would not hurt if you will opt for the natural cure.
  • Grapes - Grapes are another fruit that may contain melatonin, this is according to the study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture's summer 2006 issue. Aside from playing an important part role in the sleep-wake patterns, melatonin and has antioxidant properties. Investigators reported that the grape varieties which have high content of melatonin are: Nebbolo, Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Sangiovesse and Croatina.
  • Dairy Products - Dairy products contain the amino acid tryptophan, which promotes the production of the serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan is used by the brain to make neurotransmitters that induce sleep. Have one glass of warm milk an hour before going to bed.

Treatments

Effect of Melatonin on Insomnia

Melatonin supplements may help insomnia sufferers because melatonin decreases sleep-onset latency or the length of time that it takes to fall asleep. Your melatonin level normally increases at...

Read more about Insomnia and Melatonin.

References

Trott, B.,Are cherries the new wonder fruit? MSNBC 2009

[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6124646/][2]

Lagorio, C., Grapes May Help With Sleep CBS News Health. 2006

[http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/19/health/webmd/main1729642.shtml][3]

Holden, J. Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service.". United States Department of Agriculture. [http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata][4]. Retrieved 2009-10-24.

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