Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching up on ZZzzz' s without drugs

Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on the body.  Hypertension, inability to function, weight gain and weakened immunity have been associated with the lack of sleep.  Have you been reaching for the chemical fix to count sheep? Stop.  Here are some healthful ways to confront the problem of sleeplessness.

You are what you eat

How many times have you heard that expression?  Well, it is true in the area of improving the quality of sleep.  You can better sleep habits by eating more plant foods that provide carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.  These foods produce a low, steady rise in insulin that helps the amino acid tryptophan enter the brain.  Tryptophan is used to make serotonon which helps to induce sleepiness.

On the other hand, certain foods can disrupt the sleep pattern.  For example, tea, sodas aand coffee, which all contain caffeine shourd not be consumed when trying to induce sleep.  Alcoholic beverages can cause drowsiness, but the metablolism of the sugar can though things off.  Eating a lot of simple sugars can cause the blood sugar to spike and then drop, thus throwing off the metabolism and delaying sleep.

Try a warm glass of milk or the warm turkey sandwich instead.

References:

Katz, David, MD "The Way to Eat" Oprah Magazine
Rat sleep deprivation by the flower pot techniqueImage via Wikipedia

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