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Sound Sleep Part 2: Natural Remedies

Adelle Davis & Sound Sleep Part 2

Nutrition’s Role in Sound Sleep!

Christina Markos

How to get a good night’s sleep NATURALLY.

Adelle Davis once wrote in Let’s Get Well, “Use of sleeping tablets causes tension of nerve and muscle tissue. As a result, it becomes progressively more difficult for a person to have sound sleep without drugs. The use of such tablets does untold harm.” In regards to what proper nutrition can do she explained “Of all nutrients, adequate calcium is probably the most important in inducing sound sleep.”  She also mentioned the role of vitamin D to “ensure adequate absorption of calcium.”

Here are the best ways to get your daily calcium intake:

-Drink low-fat or skim milk, add it to your cereals, coffee etc. Non-dairy milks also contain added calcium. Certain non-dairy milks provide more calcium in one serving than a glass of milk.

-Eat low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt for breakfast, a snack or a healthy dessert. Having a low-fat yogurt mixed with berries and some honey is a delicious and healthy dessert.

-Eat a low-fat organic string cheese and fruit for a healthy pick-me-up snack or when cooking, use low-fat cheeses. Cheeses that are naturally low in fat are goats and sheep’s milk cheese (goat, feta) as well as Parmesan cheese.

-If you have a lactose intolerance, make sure to drink non-dairy milk and take the appropriate calcium supplements to ensure you are getting the proper amount each day.

For more info on calcium intake, absorption and interactions click here.

We all know that saying that if you can’t sleep, “have a glass of warm milk,” and there is real truth to that! The calcium and tryptophan found in milk does produce a calming effect that can lead to feeling sleepy and then to hopefully falling asleep! If you look for ways to help fall asleep, one of the most common is to have a small bedtime snack that includes a small cup of yogurt or cottage cheese, a small bowl of cereal and milk, or a small cup of healthy hot cocoa made with milk. There is no coincidence here- calcium plays a huge role  in sound sleep!

Adelle was once again very ahead of her time in knowing the effect that calcium had in regards to sound sleep. As Adelle said, “When insomnia is a problem, obtain mineral tablets containing calcium; take 2 or 3 tablets before going to bed.”

Here are some other natural ways to ensure sound sleep:

  • Nix the caffeine by noon- or definitely no later than 2pm. Sip and savor that cup of joe in the morning but in the afternoon swap your coffee for a decaf tea, or a green or white tea which has ⅓ of the amount of caffeine than in a cup of coffee. The effects of caffeine stay in our body long after you feel the “jolt” and if you are having trouble sleeping, avoiding caffeine is one of the best solutions.
  • Nix the night cap- or stop by 6pm. A lot of people think that a glass of wine before bedtime helps them sleep. While it does tend to help some people fall asleep, alcohol actually contributes to a restless night. You are more likely to wake up on and off, toss and turn and not get into the REM cycle of sleep, or the deep sleep your body needs. Enjoy your glass of wine at happy hour and then switch to water, milk or tea.
  • Sip on a calming cup of bedtime or sleepytime tea. The chamomile and mint in most bedtime varieties promote a sense of calm and relaxation. Make your night time “tea-time” a ritual. Cozy up with your favorite blanket on the couch, pick up your favorite book and sip on the soothing stuff.
  • Take a hot bath or shower and use lavender bath oil or body scrub/lotion. Taking a hot bath or shower at the end of a long day signals your body to start the calming down process. Pair that with lavender oil, which promotes calmness and you have a winning combo!
  • Stretch before bed or do a yoga class in the afternoon. You never want to exercise late at night. It amps your energy and your body does not get the “unwind” signal. However, a yoga class in the afternoon may work wonders. Yoga helps many people with sleep problems, as it is a way to clear your mind, connect with your breath while promoting relaxation and serenity. If you can’t make it to a yoga class, a few simple and calming stretches before bed will also promote serenity. When you can clear your mind and tune into your body and connect with your breath, an overall sense of peace and tranquility begins to happen, leading to a restful slumber!
  • Set the mood! Turn off the phone, iPad, computer and TV. Chances are, you have been looking at a screen of some sort all day! At night, it is time to put all of that stuff away. The bright light from screens does not promote good rest. Make sure your room is de-cluttered, dark, cozy and tech-free to ensure a peaceful night.

If these things don’t work, here are some other natural aids that are not habit forming that contain calcium, GABA (a neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety, and increase 5 HTP, an ingredient that helps to produce natural melatonin in your body) and melatonin.

  • Melatonin. You can buy melatonin caplets at any grocery or health food store over the counter.
  • Natural Calm. A powder that is a combination of calcium and magnesium that you can add into water and drink before bed or anytime you are feeling tense, anxious or stressed. This stuff really works!

Happy TGIF Everyone and Happy Sleeping Over the Weekend!