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Sweet, Sweet Sleep. How to Achieve It: Part 2
Last week I discussed how we are depriving ourselves of sleep and how it can affect our health. I gave some helpful breathing tips to help ease the mind. If you would like to read that article as well it can be found here.
Today, I want to share some sleep-enhancing foods, juices, essential oils, and best sleep positions.
There are some foods which encourage and promote a deeper sleep more so than others. Eating protein-rich foods that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan can be of benefit to those seeking to improve their sleep. This amino acid helps to encourage the sleep-producing hormone melatonin, and so is a great way to help yourself achieve better rest. Chicken, turkey, nuts, and seeds are all good choices of foods with tryptophan and combining them with jasmine rice and other whole grains, kale, chickpeas, or potatoes, helps the body get the most benefit from tryptophan.
Walnuts, specifically, are a good source of tryptophan. University of Texas researchers found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster. Besides walnuts, green leafy and root veggies are great choices that will return you to a calmer state of mind and ease anxiety before falling into that deep sleep.
Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep. Magnesium is a mineral that many people are lacking. In addition to eating almonds, you can take an Epsom salt bath at night. Soak your feet, or entire body, in a bath containing Epsom salt, and your body will naturally increase levels of magnesium without the need for taking a supplement.
White rice has a high glycemic index, so eating it will significantly slash the time it takes you to fall asleep, according to an Australian study. And Jasmine rice brings you to sleep even faster, according to a research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study found that people who ate a meal that included jasmine rice fell asleep faster than when they ate other rice types.
If you’re someone who prefers not sleeping after a heavy meal, there are also certain snack foods which better encourage sleep than others. The trick is simply to be aware of the effects of these before you sleep. Hummus, for example, is a great snack that contains chickpeas which are full of tryptophan.
I love to juice mostly for energy in the morning but because this is an article on sleep, I’d like to share my favorite “sleepy” juice. Since tart cherries may be able to help you get to sleep faster because they contain melatonin, my recipe has them in it. According to researchers from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester, subjects who drank cherry juice experienced some improvement in their insomnia symptoms compared to those containing melatonin, which is a hormone that can help you sleep and stay asleep.
The following ingredients to help you drift into a good sleep:
- 2 cups of tart cherries
- 2 blood oranges
- ½ a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
For extra support, you can add 1 packet of MetaRelax®. You can purchase here at https://cweaver.metagenics.com/metarelax.
MetaRelax® is a great tasting orange citrus flavored magnesium powder blend. This unique formula features a magnesium amino acid chelate (bis-glycinate) designed to enhance absorption and intestinal tolerance. It also features taurine, vitamins B6, B12, and folate. Together, these nutrients help to promote restful sleep, positive mood, and relaxation.
NOTE: If you are not a fan of juicing, you can always steep a cup of stress-busting chamomile tea will help you sleep.
Essential Oils for Sleep!
For anyone not familiar with the concept of essential oils, they are (essentially) broken down volatile organic molecules that can change quickly from their solid or liquid state at room temperature. They’re called “volatile” because they change state quickly, but the most importantly, they are derived from organic plant sources and they can be very powerfully fragrant.
Some of these natural fragrances have been proven to promote and induce a calmer state of mind and encourage a more balanced central nervous system which allows us to more effectively prepare for sleep.
For this reason, many people use essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, ylang ylang, valerian, bergamot, and cedarwood (among others) in their sleeping areas to help infuse the air with pleasing, calming molecules to relax the nervous system and encourage deeper breathing as they fall asleep.
Essential oils have so many benefits and it’s a great area to begin exploring if you’re new to the potential they hold to help regulate your sleep pattern. I absolutely LOVE it when I hear testimonials about not having to rely on unnatural practices to do what the body should be able to do on its own - SLEEP!
If you’re having trouble sleeping or just want to sleep in, do yourself a favor and massage this onto your feet and back:
-5 drops of Lavender essential oil
-5 drops of Bergamot essential oil
-10 drops of Cedarwood essential oil
If I don’t hear from you first thing in the morning, I’ll know it worked! :)
I make essential oil roller bottle blends and if you would like to buy one, give Marie my office manager a call at 704-882-1488 and she will ship one to you. My patients have enjoyed my blends for years and I have been using essential oils for over 13 years. I even have one called Deep Sleep and Sweet Dreams.
Awareness of your sleep posture and the pillow you use can make a lot of difference in your spinal health. The two sleeping positions that are the easiest on your cervical spine (neck) is on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head. Avoid using too high of a pillow, which keeps the neck flexed overnight and can result in morning pain and stiffness. Also, having a pillow under your knees can help support your lumbar spine (low back). If you sleep on your side, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head and use a pillow between your knees. Try your best to not sleep on your stomach because your neck must be turned all night because you need to breathe. Sleeping on your stomach is very tough on your cervical spine and your cervical spine is vital to your health.
Poor Posture Could also be The Cause to lack of sleep!
Do you sit in a chair for more than 4 hours a day? Do you spend more than 1 hour a day on your phone? Ever heard of the terms “Sitting Disease” or “Tech Neck?” Well, you should know them. This can lead to poor posture and can be the primary cause for a lot of the most common health problems.
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From breathing exercises, to journaling, to changing your diet, to posture, and learning how to use essential oils, there are a number of strategies you can try to improve your sleep and I’d really encourage you not to give up trying if one doesn’t have the immediate desired effect. (It takes a while and a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for your particular sleep issue and your lifestyle, so please don’t lose heart if one thing doesn’t work!!)
I really love sharing this topic with people as I feel it’s a vital aspect of our health and lifestyle that is often forgotten in favor of other elements, so if you’ve made the decision to tackle it head on by reading this article I assure you, you’re already halfway there.
Best of luck on your journey towards a more sleep-filled life!
Let me know how I can help you ease your mind and drift off to the best sleep of your life.
If you want more healthy tips you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/drcorinneweaver. Like and comment on my channel so I will know what tips and topics you want to know about. I am forming a community of people who want to take action in their own health with my social media channels and I want to know what health topics you want to hear.
I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing His gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! For more information, you can go to www.nomoremedsmovement.com and sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips.
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.