(NaturalNews) For better sleep, the body needs healthy foods and nutrients. Many nutrients are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system and help promote good sleep. Whole foods contain many of these natural insomnia cures, but supplements are also available to ensure that you obtain the proper dietary amounts.
Calcium is nature's tranquilizer. Some feel that calcium is best absorbed in the evening, suggesting that the folk medicine suggestion of a glass of milk before bedtime might be a good idea. Natural forms of calcium are dairy foods as well as green vegetables and sesame. A spoon of sesame seeds has ten times the calcium as a similar amount of milk. Spinach is also high in calcium. Take 1000 milligrams of calcium daily.
Magnesium is needed to absorb calcium. Many calcium supplements also contain magnesium. Epsom salts are made of magnesium and an Epsom salt bath is one way to absorb magnesium. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant as well as important for balancing blood sugar and blood pressure. Natural sources of magnesium are halibut, peanuts, whole grains, spinach, bananas, avocadoes, and nuts and seeds. Diabetes and those on diuretics need to insure proper intake of magnesium, as much magnesium is lost through urine. Symptoms of deficiency are muscle spasms, nausea and loss of appetite.
Vitamin D is another nutrient needed to support calcium uptake in the body. Milk products are regularly fortified with vitamin D. Research has shown that it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from exposure to the sun, especially in winter months, or north of New York or San Francisco, so supplementation is advised.
L-theanine is one of the ingredients of green tea. This amino acid is known to have calming properties. R-glutamylethylamide is the full name of the chemical. Research has shown theanine to calm the brain by producing alpha waves. Aside from its calming effects, theanine may also lower blood pressure.
5-HTP is the abbreviation for L-5-hydroxlytryptophan. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid. This same nutrient is high in turkey protein and some say is responsible for the post-Thanksgiving sleepiness. Some have used tryptophan as a mood enhancer, as well, as it is known to help with serotonin mechanisms in the brain. A capsule of 5-HTP can be taken in the morning on an empty stomach.
GABA is one of the brain's neurotransmitters. The full name of this nutrient used to treat depression is gamma-Aminobutyric acid. Its function is to regulate muscle tone and the excitability of nerves.
Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College. A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks. Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at: http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/2009/04/b... Follow her blog at http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/ www.melaniegrimes.com