Still tossing and turning in bed even if you've been trying your best to doze off?
Time and again, studies have warned about the dangers of sleep deprivation, which affects 38 percent of Britons, mostly women aged 35 to 44. It turns out that the Brits are the worst sleepers, according to life insurance company Aviva, which studied the sleep habits of people around the world.
These Brits and other insomniacs can beat sleep deprivation by turning to healthy food that can help them rise and shine better in the morning. Nutritionist Rick Hay lists down some sleep-friendly foods.
Green, black, and white tea --Research shows that the amino acid L-theanine in green, black, and white tea and matcha green teas can help lower anxiety and promote sleep. A 2008 study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Nutrition analyzed the brain activity of healthy adults and found increased alpha wave activity after they took L-theanine. Alpha waves are brainwaves that boost relaxation. Another study revealed that supplementing the diet with 400 mg of L-theanine helped boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) sleep better and longer.
Chamomile -- The humble chamomile is great for fighting inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and the common cold. It also heals wounds. But it's second to none when it comes to putting you to sleep . That's because the flavonoids in camomile contain apigenin, which binds itself to brain receptors. These raise the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter with a calming, sedative effect. A fascinating though small study showed that ten cardiac patients fell into deep slumber for 90 minutes after drinking chamomile tea. Another study revealed that chamomile had hypnotic effects on sleep-deprived rats. Hay added that inhaling chamomile essential oil before going to bed has a calming effect. Yet another study revealed that inhaling chamomile powder lowered blood levels of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) in overactive rats. ACTH is a substance that raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cinnamon -- Hay says cinnamon helps your nervous system by calming blood sugar levels. Several studies show that cinnamon aids in reducing the blood sugar levels of Type 2 diabetics. Hay says this is important for those who wake up in the small hours at night. Their sugar spikes wake them up as their blood sugar level drops. Hay suggests a small bowl of porridge with cinnamon before bedtime, or a bit of cinnamon in chamomile tea.
Ginger -- Besides calming down the stomach, the chemical ingredient gingerol in ginger relaxes the body and is a good circulatory tonic. A study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that taking a supplement containing ginger (plus other herbs and fruits) decreased the time it took for insomniacs to go to sleep. A 2010 study published in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry revealed that ginger might bind to the brain’s serotonin (the brain's feel-good agent) receptor and beat anxiety. (Related: 7 Wonderful Benefits of Ginger Oil & How to Make Ginger Oil?)
Licorice -- A 2012 mice research published in the journal Bioorganic Medicine and Chemistry revealed that gabrol, a flavonoid found in licorice could helps activate relaxing alpha waves which leads to a deeper, longer sleep. Hay says licorice, which natural healers use to treat depression and anxiety, are adrenal tonics that help calm a frazzled system.
Passion fruit -- The compound harman in passion fruit has a hypnotic, sedative effect that reduces insomnia and anxiety. It also promotes deep sleep.
You don't have to resort to sleeping pills to get enough slumber time. All you need are natural foods and a sleep-friendly place that can whisk you to Dreamland faster, and let you stay there for a healthy amount of time.