An estimated 50-70 million Americans are suffering from chronic sleep problems, this is according to the National Institutes of Health. Long period of experiencing sleep deficiency can result in fatigue and more serious health problems like depression, obesity and chronic disease. The problem of chronic sleep can be addressed by eating certain foods which can boost production of substances that can induce sleep in the body. The purpose of this article is to teach people the right foods to eat to address the problem, instead of directly taking medication.
The foods to decrease insomnia and other chronic sleep disorders are the following:
- Foods that contain melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone created by the brain’s pineal gland to regulate the person’s wake-up cycle or referred to as circadian rhythm. The body’s circadian rhythm is the 24-hour clock plays a very critical role to determine the time to fall asleep and wake up. Foods containing melatonin are walnuts and dried and fresh cherries; these must be consumed in large amounts. On the other hand, potatoes, tomatoes and corn have melatonin but consume them in smaller amounts.
- Foods that contain L-tryptophan. This is an amino acid functioning as a building block of protein; it is a precursor of serotonin and melatonin. L-tryptophan is a neurotransmitter which aids sleep. From this amino acid, the body produces another serotonin and melatonin precursor called hydroxytryptophan or the 5-HTP, this is again linked to positive sleeping patterns. Good sources of tryptophan are chicken, turkey, fish, pumpkin seeds, milk, seeds, sesame, soy and tofu.
- Foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium promotes relaxation of the muscle that is helpful to sleep. When the body does not get sufficient magnesium, sleep disturbances and anxiety will occur. Also, it can result into the legs uncomfortable sensations known as the restless leg syndrome, this will affect the person’s ability to sleep. To have sufficient magnesium, eat legumes, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, black walnuts and pine nuts. Other food sources of magnesium are bran cereals, bananas, oatmeal, seaweed, chocolate and herbs like tarragon, basil, dill weed and marjoram.
Eating foods rich in melatonin, L-tryptophan and magnesium can help to address insomnia problems.