In this article I'll try to give you some advice on how to beat insomnia, especially during these first few weeks after the spring time change.
It is common to suffer from some sort of sleep deprivation when the time changes, and not only.
- Time changes
- Jet leg
- Shift work
- Stress and lifestyle
and today I want to focus on the last one, because there is something you can do to improve your sleep pattern.
How to Beat Insomnia with Diet
There are millions of people in the world that suffer from sleep deprivation, and if it may sound like not a big deal for one night, it can definitely affect our lives under every aspect.
People that suffer from insomnia know that it is a very serious condition, and it really sucks. It is exhausting.
Sometimes they feel like there's nothing they can do, sometimes they take sleeping pills or just melatonin (I tried it, it works) and they get back on track.
But it's still a short term solution. You can't take melatonin forever, it will eventually become ineffective.
But what if I told you that you can beat insomnia with diet and solve temporary sleep deprivation problems?
First of all, the old "grandma advice" that teaches not to go to sleep on full stomach is true.
In fact, eating lots of food just before bed time makes digestion intense and will affect our sleep.
Second, don't drink alcohol. It may be faster to fall asleep, but the quality of the sleep is usually bad. People usually wake up multiple times during the night and especially they don't feel rested in the morning.
Third, reduce caffeine during the late hours.
Foods That Help Sleep Better
So here's the best part, the answers that you are waiting for.
What are the best foods that help beat insomnia?
Carbohydrates, both simple and complex, are ok for our sleep.
So pasta, but also fruit, honey, bread, jam contain tryptophan, a type of amino-acid that needs to be supplemented with diet.
Tryptophan promotes the production of natural sedatives like serotonin in the brain, which helps our body relax. Of course whole grain pasta is even better as it is easier to digest.
Milk, as well as yogurt, is a good source of tryptophan, a natural downer.
A cup of milk, better if warm, before bed time is a great idea to relax before falling asleep. Milk contains calcium which is also effective to relax our body and nervous system.
Personally I find that warm milk before bed time is a great way to beat insomnia.
Red grapes contain melatonin, a hormone that our body naturally produces already. Melatonin has relaxing properties and it helps regulate our sleep. It is particularly recommended to recover from jet legs.
When it's night time, and it gets dark, our body produces more melatonin to help us sleep. Then it reduces the production in the morning to help us wake up.
With jet legs, this cycle is messed up, and melatonin supplementation helps regulate it again.
Some sugary vegetables are more recommended than others for dinner, to beat insomnia.
For example, onions contain quercetin, a substance that belongs to the category of flavonoids and has strong anti anxiety properties.
Rich in water, vitamins and minerals, a good salad is purifying and is also a great ally of good sleep.
Lettuce is perfect for dinner. It contains lactucin, a substance with sedative properties.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and tryptophan. Not only: they also contain magnesium and potassium, two minerals that help with muscle relaxation, which make bananas great to beat insomnia.
If you have read other articles in this website, you probably learned that ZMA contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and it should be takes before bed to help recover during sleep.
Also several types of fish contain tryptophan. For example anchovies, cod and tuna. Many experts say that you can improve the quality and the duration of sleep, and therefore beat insomnia, by eating fish regularly.
We've learned that tryptophan is essential to beat insomnia. Once again, nut, and especially walnuts, are rich in this substance. A few snacks of nuts a day provide a good amount of serotonin, crucial to be able to rest without too much "headache".
Another effective way to beat insomnia with home remedies before bed time is to have some calming herbal tea.
The best herbs? Chamomile, lemon balm or mauve, with sedative and calming properties.
Apples are a natural anti anxiety type of fruit. They are refreshing and easily digestible, which makes them perfect to eat in the evening.
Other Personal Tips
All the above work quite fine to beat insomnia, and if I may, I'd like to add some more advice that comes from personal experience.
I had some periods in the past when I suffered from light insomnia after I changed job and had my schedule a little messed up.
Going to Bed with Empty Stomach is Not Good Either
That's right. If going to bed on full stomach puts too much stress on the digestion process, trying to sleep on empty stomach doesn't help either.
Personally, if I am hungry I can't fall asleep until I take a bite.
Milk works best for its relaxing properties and also calorie wise. A cup of milk is around 200 cal, which works great to satisfy the stomach and relax the body.
Magnesium and ZMA
Sometimes I take magnesium supplements to help relax. Pure magnesium, or ZMA (which contains magnesium), both seem to work.
There are many more remedies to beat insomnia, but this is not the place to talk about everything. Let's keep this article focused only on foods to beat insomnia.
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