I.) Foods for Improving Sleep:
While high stress remains the most common cause of insomnia, eating the wrong foods can be a major contributing factor and even make stress worse. The major problematic food classes include: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and poor quality fats (industrial seed oils). Therefore, removing some of these problematic foods and improving diet overall is an important first step toward towards more restful sleep. After removing problematic foods, start adding nutrient rich foods such as:
A rich source of Magnesium, almonds are one of the best foods for treating insomnia. Found in food and supplement form, Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxing mineral and also works to calm the central nervous system. The Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (12/2012) published a study which found that magnesium can “improve subjective measures of insomnia, such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures, such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin and serum cortisol, in elderly people.”
Cherries and especially products made from tart cherry juice have been linked to improved sleep. Some studies have shown that tart cherry juice concentrate can help to raise total melatonin levels, which are critical to deeper quality.
Banana is well-known for boosting energy, but it also supplies many of the nutrients critical for sleep. Rich in magnesium, potassium and tryptophan, bananas contain the “magic trio” of sleep helpers. The amino acid Tryptophan is especially effective since it is a critical precursor to the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin (both are needed for sleep).
II.) Supplements for Insomnia:
Below is a list of supplements shown to be helpful for insomnia. Dosages will depend on the individual, and ideally, should be based on the advice of a health care professional.