If You Are Not Sleeping Well, Try One of these Vegan Sleep Aids
It is thought that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Sometimes, a change in diet can be helpful.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.
Stress, technology overload and a fast paced lifestyle are all thought to contribute to our lack of sleep today. Body weight and poor diet may also contribute. Obesity increases risk of sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar intake can also interrupt a restful sleep.
Matthew Walker, the director of University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep, not only suggests eliminating bad habits for good sleep, but also incorporating some good foods into your daily diet – all of which are (or can be) vegan.
Bananas – Bananas contain magnesium and potassium, both of which are known to be muscle relaxants. Both may also be helpful with muscle cramping and having sufficient magnesium may help with restless legs syndrome
Other good sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds, dark greens, beans and lentils, and avocados.
Good sources of potassium, in addition to bananas, include potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, and watermelon.
Flaxseeds – In addition to magnesium, flax is an excellent vegan source of omega-3s which may decrease anxiety. These nutrients may help with brain inflammation that contribute to negative feelings, including both anxiety and depression, that interrupt sleep.
Warm Milk – This may be something your mom or grandmother told you to drink if you were having trouble sleeping. The good news? It does not need to be cow’s milk to have a powerful effect. The nutrient most known for being a sleep supporter is tryptophan. This amino acid converts into serotonin, giving us a feeling of calm. Turkey is another food often thought of when it comes to tryptophan.
However, soy foods such as soybeans, tofu and soy milk also contain tryptophan. In fact, soy can contain as much as 122% of your recommended daily value – so you don’t even need the cow or the turkey!
Be careful when heating soy milk to drink, though. It curdles at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm it slowly at a low heat while constantly stirring and do not let it boil. Remember that it isn’t a certain temperature that you need for sleep benefits – even slightly warmed milk brings about a feeling of comfort and relaxation.
- One Green Planet
- Psychology Today
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons