Naturopathic Sleep Solutions
In our clinic, we have found excellent results for insomnia. Since nighttime is often a time when our busy days of work, stress and distraction finally wind down, we believe the nighttime may be the first chance your brain has to process your life and the day. At this time, thoughts race through and can keep up us up. Keeping nighttime rituals, including getting to bed at the same time (preferably between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.), using orange lighting 1 hour before bed, shutting down all computers, cell phones and bright lights, as well as sipping calming herbal teas, like chamomile and linden, can be very helpful.
Temporarily, we may also recommend natural sleep aids such as melatonin, tryptophan, valerian or some calming aids like passionflower and theanine to help reset your body rhythms. Chinese formulas like Bu Nao Wan or Suan Zao Ren Tang can help calm the mind and induce healthy sleep.
Foods for Deep Sleep
Food can be a strong support in the quest for a good night’s sleep. Some insomnia sufferers wake at night because their blood sugar drops too low. Adequate protein and healthy fat intake can help stabilize blood sugar through the night, and allow the liver to let out stored sugar molecules as needed for a good night’s sleep. Foods can also support the healthy production of brain neurotransmitters and create calming results in the body.
Here are the most common sleep scenarios and some of our favorite food solutions for sleep.
Problem: Trouble Falling Asleep
Solution: Montmorency Tart Cherries
The Montmorency cherry is a type of sour cherry. The color is not as dark as the cherries we typically see in the stores. These cherries are great because they have about 6 times the amount of melatonin than a regular cherry. If you can find a cherry juice concentrate, this will also increase the concentration of melatonin even more.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain’s pineal gland. When it gets dark outside, your eyes sense the lighting change and starts making this hormone, which communicates to your body that it is time to prepare to sleep. Melatonin helps maintain your daily body rhythms, and is an important antioxidant in the body known to fight cancer. In fact, low amounts are shown to increase risk of cancer.
You can find these special cherries in some fine food stores when they are in season. Sometimes they can be found in the frozen section, or look for a Montmorency cherry juice concentrate.