A new scheme for sweeter dreams

Having trouble sleeping?? There are several things you can do which may improve your sleep pattern. Some studies suggest that a routine could play a key role in making sure you get plenty of sleep. Once established, a routine will help your mind and body realize when it’s time to relax which could contribute to a healthier sleep pattern. Additionally, there are natural compounds which have been known to aid in healthy sleep patterns and can be included in your routines. Pre-slumber routines may include but are not limited to:

  • A glass of red wine which has been known to be helpful for those who can’t sleep and the logic comes from several places. First of all, red wine helps to relax the body and offer an evening de-stressor to what may have been a super stressful day. Additionally, red wine contains melatonin which is found in the skin of red grapes. Three wines with high levels of melatonin are Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese.
  • An herbal tea before bed may prove to be beneficial, especially one with valerian. Valerian is an herb often used as a natural sleep aid or as a mild sedative. It helps to relieve nervous tension and has been known to effectively treat sleep disorders. A good tea which contains valerian is made by Yogi Tea and is called Bedtime Tea (http://www.herbalremedies.com/natural-sleep-aid.html)
  • L-Theanine may help as well, especially if you find you are stressed throughout the day. L-Theanine is an amino acid which stimulates alpha wave activity in the brain (the activity waves seen during deep relaxation), without mimicking drowsiness. It has been known to offer this state of relaxation along with a state of more alertness, similar to effects seen during meditation. Obtaining during the day could help the body be relaxed once you hit the pillow which could lead to a full night’s rest. This can be purchased in capsule form or can be obtained from green tea in the morning.
  • Reading. Grabbing your current liesure read can help you doze off quickly (exclude scary ones for a optimal results). And no, the T.V. does not have the same effect because it’s too visually stimulating and heaven forbid the Oxy-Clean commercial come on and that annoying guy’s voices scares you awake.
  • Food! My favorite cure for everything. Its not a good routine to eat before bed (because of indigestion and acid reflux potential) but pay attention to your dinner. It’s quite amazing how what you eat can have such an impact on everything else in your life. Certain foods can actually promote the synthesis (or increase production) of serotonin, which promotes healthy sleeping patterns. Foods such as whole grain bread or complex carbohydrates can increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Milk or turkey could also be an approach since they contain high levels of tryptophan, which is a serotonin precursor. Niacin, a B vitamin, is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and can be found in legumes, fish, or poultry. Foods to avoid are those which contain caffeine, foods which are spicy (since they tend to stimulate the brain), refined carbohydrates, foods that are too high in protein because it could block the synthesis of serotonin, and foods likely to increase indigestion or gas. Even if unthought-of, these changes to your diet may help.Sweet Dreams!
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