Years ago, I had trouble sleeping due to chronic pain and anxiety. I didn't realize that these symptoms were associated with my autoimmune condition and the way I was eating and living my life. Without this knowledge, I agreed to take the hypnotic drugs my medical doctor recommended. I was too tired and not feeling well enough to investigate other options at the time. For those of you who have experienced insomnia, I just wanted to sleep!
Now with more understanding of my condition and the knowledge of how lifestyle practices and how nutrition can impact sleep, I have found ways to trouble shoot not just to fall sleep, but to get better sleep for myself and others. With better sleep, I am able to think more clearly, have less intense food cravings - along with being more productive and present.
I want to share with you some of these practices here, so if you are wishing to fall asleep better, you can explore them too. As a heads up, I plan to go more in depth about these practices - in addition to botanical support - in an e-book that I am in the middle of writing! If you want to get an update on when it will be released, please sign up for my newsletter.
If you want to share your tips that I haven't included here, please comment below. If you have success stories, please share them too!
What Are Sleeping Pills?
Sleeping pills are also called hypnotics, which are sedatives that promote and maintain sleep. This article will go over the impact and side effects of hypnotics - including nutrition and lifestyle options you may want to try to help you sleep better. As always, talk with your doctor to make sure there are no conflicts with your specific condition.
Examples of Hypnotics
- Benzodiazepine Agonists*
Side-Effects From the Use of Hypnotics
Death from overdose or interactions with other drugs
- Accidents: fractures, falls, & automobile
- Possible increased cancer and mortality risk
Foods that Contribute to Insomnia
- Stimulants including caffeine, food coloring, food sensitivities, and allergies
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Protein heavy dinner
- Too much omega-3s
Lifestyle Practices that Contribute to Lower Quality of Sleep
- Intense exercise close to bedtime
- Too much stimulation at night: light, noise, EMF, & drugs
- Temperature being too warm at night
- Sleeping Ergonomics
- Lack of Exercise
- Lack of Social Support
- Dukka (Stress)
Foods That Help With Sleep
- Protein rich meals, especially in the morning, including fish, chicken, beef, lamb and more
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Potatoes, rice, & sweet potatoes
- Turkey, dairy, Walnuts (contain melatonin)
- Seaweed, dark leafy greens, & chlorella
- Saturated Fats: Butter, Coconut oil, Macadamias, Cashews, Fatty Fishes, & Flax seeds
- Whole grains, legumes, bananas, seeds, nuts, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, & cauliflower
- Turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, red meats, soybeans (fermented is best), tofu, and nuts (almonds)
- Light Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Sleep Rituals
- Meditation, Prayer, & Yoga
- Social Support/Community
- Exercise in the morning or early evening
I hoped you picked up something new that you can practice to help you have better sleep. Each person has a different situation and learning style that can require different adaptations to getting better sleep. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. I am available for privates in SF and over Skype. I also plan to offer sleep workshops and an ebook on Better Sleep, Better Performance next year, so signup for my newsletter to receive updates. The e-book will go more in depth regarding each practice and more.
*benzodiazepines (triazolam, estazolam, temazepam, flurazepam, and quazepam), nonbenzodiazepine receptor agonists (non-BzRAs; zaleplon, zolpidem, and eszopiclone), suvorexant, ramelteon, doxepin and trazodone. Off-label drugs such as other antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, gabapentin, pramipexole, tiagabine, valerian, and melatonin were also included.
Kripke DF. (2016). Mortality Risk of Hypnotics: Strengths and Limits of Evidence. Drug Saf. Feb;39(2):93-107. doi: 10.1007/s40264-015-0362-0.
Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Pizzorno, Lara. (2005). The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods. New York, New York: Atria Books.
Jaminet, P. Perfect Health Diet - Circadian Rhythms. (11/4/16). Retrieved from http://perfecthealthdiet.com/shop-circadian-rhythms/
Stress Reduction Workshop with Gary Kraftsow on 10/7/16-10/9/16