Most people acknowledge that exercise and diet are essential components to a healthy lifestyle, but something that often gets overlooked is the importance of sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to issues such as decreased immunity to cold and flu, increased risk of cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and obesity. It is very difficult to function efficiently and focus with a lack of sleep. Many factors may affect sleep quality and duration. Factors such as illness, work schedule, children, and stress can make optimal sleep more difficult. Traveling can also make sleep more difficult and it may be hard to fall and stay asleep on an uncomfortable hotel mattress, RV mattress, or marine mattress. Especially of you sleep in an RV or on a boat, external noise and distractions also make a good night’s sleep elusive.
Many people turn to the aid of sleeping pills to help them go to sleep, but there are many natural alternatives to pills. According to data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a healthy diet is associated with healthy sleep patterns. A varied diet is helpful, and certain nutrients such as vitamin C and lycopene aid in sleep.
1. Kiwi: Though unclear why, consuming kiwi about an hour before bed improves sleep onset, duration, and quality. Kiwi is high in nutrients such as serotonin, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
2. Walnuts: these delicious nuts produce tryptophan which aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for setting your sleep and wake cycles.
3. Tart Cherry Juice: In research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting, it was found that people suffering from insomnia that drank two cups of tart cherry juice throughout the day were able to sleep almost 90 minutes longer at night. Tart cherry juice reduces inflammation in the body, allowing tryptophan to work longer.
4. Fish: fish and other foods rich in vitamin B6 aid in sleep by helping the body produce melatonin.
5. Banana: having a banana before bed can help in more ways than one. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6. They are also a great source of calcium, and may help prevent leg cramps at night.
6. Leafy greens: spinach and kale will also help you sleep. Not only do some of these leafy vegetables provide a surprising source of calcium, but also contain lactucarium, a natural sedative.
7. Whole grain cereal and milk: this power couple pack a double punch when helping you sleep. The whole grains help increase your glycemic index, making it easier to fall asleep, while the calcium in milk increases the production of melatonin.
38% of Americans report sleep problems every year. Good quality sleep is vital to your well being, but before turning to the pharmaceutical route, consider making s a few changes to your diet. Sometimes nature’s goodness is able to bring the balance you need to help your body do what it should. Also you can boost the effect of a healthy diet, by creating a sleep haven in the room you sleep in.