For the past few weeks, I have been battling insomnia, and insomnia has been a formidable adversary. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia is the most common sleep complaint in the U.S., affecting 10% to 35% of people at least some of the time. Insomnia keeps you from sleeping well and feeling refreshed in four ways:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Poor quality of sleep

Lack of proper sleep affects us in more ways than we know. Before you reach for that bottle of over the counter sleep aids or beg your doctor for a prescription, here are some foodie tips that will help you transition to a proper night’s sleep.

  • Lettuce should be an integral part of your evening diet if you suffer from sleep disorders. It has long been known to promote healthy sleep. An effective sleep-inducing drink is lettuce juice mixed with lemon juice. Get out that juicer that sitting unopened in the back of your closet and juice your way to a good night’s sleep!
  • Make your dinner a light meal, rich in proteins and complex carbohydrates. Avoid large portions – the body’s digestive system slows at night, which makes it harder to digest a big meal. Also avoid spicy foods- they will keep you awake as well.
  • Need a bedtime snack? Try a handful of whole wheat crackers, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk (like Raisin Bran), or half a grapefruit, or some dried cherries. Any of these snacks, which are rich in fiber, protein, and melatonin, should help you have a restful night’s sleep. Have your snack at least an hour before your bedtime – it’s good to go to bed on a comfortable (not full) stomach. I’ve personally tried eating a grapefruit or a handful of cherries as a bedtime snack, and it has helped me fight my insomnia.
  • Developing good sleep hygiene is also essential to getting a proper night’s rest. It is much easier to relax your mind and body at night if you have bedtime “rituals” – things that you do every night at or around the same time before going to bed. These rituals let your body know that it is time to shut down for the evening. Make it a point to turn off the TV at a certain time each night and build a routine that helps you relax and prepare for sleep. Try some yoga or Pilates, maybe a warm shower or soak, or chat with a loved one each night before bed. For more information on practicing good sleep hygiene, check out this article.

What do you do to fight insomnia? Do you practice good sleep hygiene? Share your tips – I can use all the help I can get!

Happy eating – and sweet dreams!

The Fab Foodie