Insomnia. Ugh!

Do you have trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning, feeling like you’ll never fall asleep? Do you feel so tired yet can’t shut your mind off? I used to have that problem…for the first 33 years of my life! That’s a whole lot of years without sleep. I always thought my problem stemmed from my overactive mind. What do you think? Do you believe it’s a problem with your thinking or a problem with your body? You may be surprised to learn that it’s probably an issue with your body that is effecting your mind. Yep. When I changed my diet and lifestyle and began taking supplements, I started falling right to sleep. After 33 years of insomnia and 12 years of resenting my husband for falling asleep the minute his head hit the pillow, I finally experienced the heavenly bliss of closing my eyes and magically sinking into dreamland. Ahhh! Who knew? My overactive mind wasn’t the culprit after all.

So what can you do?

How can you increase your chances of falling asleep when you want to? Here are 4 things that have been shown to help others like you:

  • Clean up your diet. Start by getting out the excess sugar and processed foods. Getting checked for food allergies is always a good idea too.
  • Reduce the amount of light going into your eyes for about one hour prior to bed. Turn off the computer, iPad, lamps, and preferably even the TV.
  • Take supplements. Magnesium, B6, and niacin have been shown to be useful.
  • Eat a carbohydrate snack before bed. Be sure that it is not a high-glycemic food (one that will spike your blood sugar). Good ideas include nuts, peaches, apples, oranges, grapes, rice, oats, or a sweet potato.

Why do these things help?

The natural flow of the body is that melatonin increases at night and cortisol decreases. Some people think that just taking melatonin will rid them of insomnia. However, it doesn’t usually work long-term. Your body likely produces sufficient melatonin. It may just not be producing it at the right time of day. Avoiding a lot of light in your eye near bedtime will help signal your body to release melatonin. In addition, we have many neurotransmitters that keep us alert during the day (glutamate, histamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine). These need to be broken down so that you can sleep. You can’t sleep while alert, right? Magnesium, vitamin B6, and niacin all help to break down those neurotransmitters. You can get these nutrients from food and also from supplements.

Foods to Eat in the Evening

  • spinach
  • chard
  • pumpkin seeds
  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • avocados
  • figs
  • black beans
  • almonds
  • bananas
  • wild-caught tuna
  • grass-fed beef
  • salmon
  • chicken
  • sweet potato
  • hazelnuts
  • turkey
  • garlic
  • mushrooms
  • liver
  • peas
  • sunflower seeds

Supplements That May Help

  • Optimal Magnesium
  • Optimal Multivitamin
  • Niacin

Foods Not to Eat in the Evening

  • parmesan
  • cured meats
  • soy
  • tomatoes
  • bone broth
  • barley
  • gluten
  • dairy
  • alcohol
  • shellfish