Sleep disorders are conditions that affect how well and how much you sleep. Insufficient sleep is a very serious problem that poses immense risk to your health and well-being. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you stand at a higher risk of heart diseases and cancer. Sleeping well, on the other hand, promotes body’s capability to self-heal and improves the brain function.
But if you find it difficult slipping into and remaining in Dreamland, don’t go running for prescription sleeping pills. They are habit-forming, harmful and bizarre to say the least. We would encourage you to try these natural food & drink based sleeping aids.
A new research indicates that a morning and evening ritual of drinking tart cherry juice (about 8 ounces twice a day, for two weeks) can improve the quality of sleep and increase the sleeping time by up to 90 minutes in adults with insomnia. Cherries contain a naturally occurring amount of melatonin which is a hormone produced in the human body by pineal gland and is known to play a part in the body’s sleep and wake cycle.
Some seafood like shrimp, cod, tuna and halibut have naturally occurring tryptophan which is a natural amino acid. Tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin in the brain, which if deficient can lead to insomnia. However, since seafood has a proclivity of high contamination, it’s best to eat such foods in moderation.
It’s a known fact that warm milk promotes a good night’s rest. This is because milk gets you your tryptophan fix, but the key is to combine carbohydrates with it as it helps your body to utilize the sleep inducer better. So you can add some honey or sugar or whole grain cereal to your warm milk.
This lemon scented member of the mint family is a sleep inducing remedy since old times. Lemon balm also aids digestion and decreases restlessness and agitation. To consume it, you can make a tea by steeping fresh or dried lemon balm in a cup of hot water for 5-8 minutes. (Note – If you are on thyroid medication, it’s best to consult your doctor before beginning this regime. Lemon balm is known to interfere with the medication and the dose needs to be adjusted).
Herbs like sage, chamomile, valerian etc. are also known for their calming properties. To make a tea, you can add 4 tbsp of fresh or dried herb to a pot of hot water and steep for 4 hours. Strain and warm the tea before you consume it. An easier option is to just buy the teabags as they are widely available now.