Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor, MegaFood Medical Director | Feb. 2020
We all know that there is nothing quite as good as getting a good night’s sleep, yet millions of people aren’t able to enjoy the benefits of sleeping soundly.
A century ago, Americans were getting 9-10 hours of sleep per night, as opposed to our current average of just 6.8 hours (according to a Gallup poll)1. In fact, almost 60 million Americans have insomnia, which can include both difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. 60 million folks… that translates to 1 in 5 people. Talk about eye-opening.
The good news is, there are a number of healthy dietary habits you can adopt to promote sound sleep.
Good sleep begins in the kitchen
That’s right, the kitchen! Your nutrition during the day can make a difference in how you sleep at night. Here are some considerations:
Protein - It’s important to include protein throughout the day at each meal to keep blood sugar levels balanced - particularly at dinnertime. As you look at the meal, ask yourself, “Where is my protein?” At the same time, note that heavy and rich meals late in the evening can negatively impact sleep.
Magnesium - This macro-mineral is responsible for a wide variety of functions in the body. When it comes to sleep, magnesium helps maintain healthy nerve impulses and supports muscle relaxation.*
Ensuring your recommended daily intake of magnesium is met might better prep your body - and your mind - for better sleep.* While snacking just before bed can be disruptive to your sleep, pumpkin seeds or almonds -which contain magnesium- are a favored option if you're feeling hungry.
Botanical sleep support: herbs that help
Once you’ve worked on mastering your nutrition, you may be looking for a little botanical support for optimal sleep. Here are some time-honored herbs and plants that can help:
This well-known plant has a long history of use that dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was taken to help with both sleep and general nervousness.* The part of the plant that is generally utilized is the root. When Valerian is taken at night, it is used to promote a deep and restful sleep.*
Ashwagandha is a small, woody shrub, native to parts of India, North Africa, and the Middle East, where it has played an important role in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen - an herb that supports our body’s ability to adapt to stress, and as such, is a great aid to restful sleep.
Passionflower is a twining vine found in temperate North America, with the vast majority found in the American tropics. The passionflower vine produces large flowers that can measure several inches across, as well as edible seedpods! Modern usage of passionflower is as a soothing nervine, where it is used to release tension,* a common barrier to good sleep.
Most commonly known for the flavor and aroma they offer beer, hops have been used for centuries as an herbal remedy. They are native to Europe, western Asia, and North America. In modern herbal usage, hops is known for its soothing properties, and are traditionally used to promote restful sleep.*
Today, these botanicals are widely available in supplemental form- in everything from tablets and capsules to tinctures and powders. MegaFood Herbal Sleep is something of a catch-all. It is designed to promote a sense of relaxation and restorative sleep* and contains all four of the botanicals above in one convenient and unique blend!
Sweet dreams, optimal health
Restful sleep contributes to a positive mood, improves memory and even helps support healthy inflammation levels. A good night’s sleep allows you to recover physically, mentally and emotionally and restores you for the next day. Even if you think your sleep patterns are decent, if you’re chasing energy, the quality of the sleep you’re getting could be at the root of the issue.
Sometimes small dietary changes are all it takes to move yourself a few steps closer to achieving better sleep on a regular basis. Because when it comes to your energy levels, sleep is a critical player!
Looking to up your energy levels even further? Let us help you with energy supplements made with real food and added nutrients. That’s energy from the ground up.
Learn more about the sleep and stress supplements we offer.