| Erin Stokes | March 2019 |
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, bananas -which contain magnesium- are a favored option if you simply can’t resist.
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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.*
Ashwaganda’s role in sleep is indicated in its botanical name, Withania somnifera. Ashwaganda is an ancient Indian herb that helps release tension.* This plant is also an adaptogen, meaning that it helps support relaxation.*
This is a beautiful plant with a bright orange flower that can be found in many people’s gardens. California poppy is traditionally used to promote restful sleep in those with occasional sleeplessness.*
This a unique herb that is not typically found in most sleep support supplements, but has been used historically in several different countries. Vervain is a calming herb.*
Today, these botanicals are widely available in supplemental form- in everything from tablets and capsules to tinctures and powders. MegaFood Dream Release™, is something of a catch-all. It was designed to promote a sense of relaxation and restorative sleep*, and contains all of the above botanicals, as well as magnesium.
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 you’re 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!