What is insomnia?
Insomnia is clinically diagnosed as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty falling asleep when tired
- Waking up often during the night or having trouble going back to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Feeling tired upon waking
Most cases of insomnia are acute insomnia, which is only a short-term issue; however, chronic insomnia is diagnosed when a patient has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.
Biology of insomnia
Our bodies produce
a natural chemical in our central nervous system, which makes us feel calm or happy. When it gets dark outside, our bodies naturally turn serotonin into melatonin, which regulates sleep.
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you should consult a physician.
Five foods to help cure insomnia
are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin. When cherries are not in season, try dried cherries and cherry juice (especially tart cherry juices, which contains less sugar) as substitutes.
2. Whole Grains,
such as oatmeal, breads and other complex carbohydrates increase production of serotonin.
are rich in Vitamin B6, which helps produce serotonin. Use low-fat milk and make a banana milk shake as a late night snack.
4. Herbal Tea
For an effective herbal remedy for insomnia, try valerian tea. This herb is found in health food stores, pharmacies, or qualified herbalist, and when brewed into tea can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and produce a deep, satisfying rest. Also taken in capsule form or as a tincture, this organic sleep aid helped about one in 13 insomniacs enjoy a longer night’s sleep (with fewer middle-of-the-night wake ups) in a Norwegian study. And as for insomnia due to menopause, there’s more good news: 30 percent of menopausal and postmenopausal women got better sleep after drinking valerian tea, according to a recent study from Iran. Another good choice and relatively easy to find is Chamomile Tea.
is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid used naturally in our bodies to produce serotonin. This is why you get sleepy at Thanksgiving.
Other foods high in tryptophan are cottage cheese, cashews, soybeans and tuna.
Most nutritionist recommend eating a light portion of any of these suggestions approximately one hour before going to bed.
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