Research has shown certain minerals to be effective as a natural remedy for insomnia. Magnesium and calcium work together to calm the body and help relax muscles. A lack of these minerals may cause you to wake up after a few hours and not return to sleep. Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods. In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Magnesium rich foods include spinach, bananas, nuts, seeds, fish and whole grains.
1.) Turkey is a well-known tryptophan source (and notorious cause of the post-Thanksgiving nap), but turkey is not unique. Other foods such as eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts contain roughly equal amounts of tryptophan. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, so if you’re eating a light snack before bed, you might try something like a few whole wheat crackers with a small amount of peanut butter, or cereal with milk
2.) Almonds are a winner, according to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, and author of the bestselling bookFrom Fatigued to Fantastic!“They contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation,” he says. “And they have the added benefit of supplying proteins that can help maintain a stable blood sugar level while sleeping, and help promote sleep by switching you from your alert adrenaline cycle to your rest-and-digest cycle.” Try this bedtime snack: Have a tablespoon of almond butter or a 1-ounce portion of almonds to help your body relax.
3.) Avoiding all caffeine in the evening hours is key, but some decaf varieties can help get you into sleep mode. Chamomile tea is a very helpful and safe sleep aid. Green tea contains theanine, which helps promote sleep.
4.) Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain’s key calming hormones. Try this tasty and incredibly simple bedtime smoothie: Blend one banana with one cup of milk or soy milk (and ice, if desired). Pour and enjoy!.
5.) Yogurt, milk and cheese do contain Calcium which is effective in stress reduction and stabilization of nerve fibers, including those in the brain.Dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin.
6.) Oatmeal is warm, soft, soothing, easy to prepare, inexpensive and nourishing. It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium—the who’s who of nutrients known to support sleep. But go easy on the sweeteners; too much sugar before bed can have an anti-calming effect. Instead, consider topping your bowl with fruit, like bananas (see above explanation). Eating a carbohydrate rich snack, like a few oatcakes or a bowl of cereal, an hour or so before going to bed stimulates the release of insulin. This helps to clear amino acids that compete with tryptophan from the bloodstream, allowing more of this sleep-inducing amino acid to enter the brain.
a.) Avoid foods such as pork, cheese, chocolate, aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes and wine near bedtime as they are rich in an amino acid called tyramine, which the body converts to noradrenaline, a brain stimulant.
b.) Although a couple of drinks may help you to drift off to sleep, too much alcohol decreases the REM sleep we all need and disrupts the body’s natural rhythms. It causes blood sugar levels to drop, so you may wake up in the middle of the night. Alcohol is also dehydrating so you are likely to wake up feeling thirsty.
c.) Nicotine is a stimulant, so smokers take longer to fall asleep and are more likely to suffer sleep problems.