Sleep Is Critical for Optimal Health

Sleep should never be underrated for its ability to promote health and wellbeing. During sleep, your body undergoes cleansing, healing, and the rebuilding of various systems. While most agree that an adequate amount of sleep is important, life’s’ duties and activities often get in the way of an adequate amount of sleep.

If you are having trouble falling asleep it could be due to many reasons, but the biggest reason may be an irregular sleep cycle. Other causes could include excessive daily stressors, a medical condition, medications, personal choice, or even children. No matter the reason for your sleeping troubles, the suggestions below can help induce sleep without the lingering side effects of an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Tryptophan

There is a reason you typically feel sleepy after a large Thanksgiving meal. Turkey contains high amounts of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is known to help tell the brain signal that it is time to sleep.

The amino acid L-tryptophan has been long associated with sleepiness. By interacting with brain chemicals and stimulating the production of serotonin and melatonin, the chemical messengers that induce relaxation and sleep, tryptophan effectively promotes a healthy rest state. By effectively stimulating these chemical messengers in the brain, insomnia and sleep pattern disruption can typically be counteracted.

Food sources high in tryptophan include:

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Fish – especially cod and salmon

Magnesium

By some estimates, 80% of people are magnesium deficient. This mass deficiency is most likely due to poor diet choices and depleted nutrients in the soil. Farmers just don’t fertilize and take care of soil like they used to. Vegetables these days contain 25%-80% less magnesium than vegetables 50 years ago. These alarming, yet very real facts explain why it is almost impossible to get enough magnesium through diet alone. It is highly recommended that everyone supplement magnesium to reverse the deficiency.

When taken at night, magnesium will help calm the mind, relax muscles, and unwind the body. I suggest supplementing with 200mg magnesium chelate or magnesium citrate (both highly absorbable by the body) a couple of hours before bed.

Potassium

Potassium and magnesium work miraculously together. As a team, both work to relax and rebuild the body. If you are prone to getting muscle cramps or spasms at night, potassium is absolutely essential.  Although bananas are high in potassium, eating something so high in sugar before bed is not a great idea. The best sources of potassium include:

  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kefir or Yogurt
  • Bananas

Try including some of the foods listed during dinner and note if your sleep is affected. I do not recommend supplementing potassium unless prescribed by a doctor. Too much potassium is known to cause health implications.

Gabba

If you are ever up at night with a racing mind, gabba should be your go-to supplement. When taken without protein, gabba will calm your mind dramatically and allow you to slip into a restful sleep.

Gabba is also known to raise human growth hormone making it ideal for deep replenishing sleep. If you are an athlete placing high demands on your body, gabba may help improve recovery rates.

Melatonin

When your body is getting ready to shut down and sleep, it produces the hormone melatonin. This hormone quiets the mind, calms the body, and helps you feel tired. If your circadian rhythm is out of sync, or if you are very stressed and sleep deprived, your body is most likely not producing adequate amounts of melatonin at night. If your brain is not producing enough melatonin at night, you may experience restlessness and begin to toss and turn.

Supplementing melatonin can be very beneficial to get your body back in sync. Long-term supplementation can lead to decreased natural melatonin production. Because of this, I suggest only short-term use of melatonin supplements