Not Getting Enough Sleep?
Helpful Tips to Put You to Sleep
~By Dr. Julie Gorman, NMD~
Many people are starting to recognize that we live in a non-stop society whether we like it or not. This means for most that they are not getting enough sleep to keep up. This fatigue, and stress associated with it, may be impacting you more than you know.
Sleep has a huge effect on how you behave and feel throughout the day. Some of the obvious signs of sleep deprivation are excessive sleepiness, yawning, and irritability. Sleep deprivation can interfere with balance, coordination, and decision-making abilities when it becomes chronic. It has also been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
It is important to recognize the need to get a good night of sleep as well as to make choices that support good sleep habit.
Nutrition plays an important role in how you sleep and feel overall. Serotonin, a key hormone that along with Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid, helps promote healthy sleep. Serotonin is impacted directly by food. By trying to consume foods that calm the body and increase serotonin levels, the results will likely be more restful sleep for you.
Some specific food types will help you in your search for a good night of sleep:
Lean proteins include low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey and fish. High in tryptophan, these tend to increase serotonin levels. It is important to avoid high-fat cheeses, chicken wings or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and can in fact keep you awake.
Switch to whole-grain choices in items such as breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and brown rice. Avoid non sleep promoting simple carbohydrates like white breads, pasta and sweets including cookies, cakes, pastries and other sugary foods.
Your drink choice can promote or prevent sleep. Before bedtime warm milk or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint are good choices. Have that last cup of caffeine by 2 p.m. as caffeine can affect people differently. The smallest amount of stimulant may be what is keeping you awake.
Unsaturated fats will also improve your serotonin levels. This is an added bonus of a heart healthy diet! Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios are a good choice for evening snacking. Avoid those saturated and trans fats, such as french fries, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods. These will drop your serotonin levels down.
Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body. However, some herbs such as red pepper or black pepper, may have a stimulatory effect. Sage and basil are two that effectively reduce tension and promote sleep.
Try these Sleep-inducing snacks:
- banana with low-fat yogurt
- peanut butter on whole grain crackers
- apple with mozzarella string cheese.
- low-fat cottage cheese with whole grain pita chips
I recommend acupuncture for many patients with insomnia or those having sleep disturbances. While acupuncture is often associated with pain management, in the hands of our well-trained practitioners it has much broader applications. Most people who have experienced acupuncture report a reduction in aches and pains, decreased stress, a better night’s sleep and an improved sense of well-being.
Here at Revolution Health Medical Center, we also have our Relax and Renew Program which is designed to help you de-stress, replenish, and boost your energy levels. Because the cause of your stress and fatigue is different than everyone else’s, your program may include a doctor’s evaluation, lab testing (to evaluate thyroid, hormones, adrenal function, metabolism and overall health status), and discussion of your health challenges and goals.
Good night and pleasant dreams to all!
Dr. Julie Gorman is the founder and chief executive officer of Revolution Health Medical Center. Since starting the medical practice in 2001, she has been honored as a Phoenix Magazine Top Doctor (2013 & 2015) and been nationally recognized as a fellow of the American Board of Oriental and Reproductive Medicine for her training and skill in holistic infertility care.
The information provided on this site is not intended to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a health problem. Please schedule a private consult about your health concerns.