Have you had a few too many cocktails at the office Christmas party?
Or are you feeling the stress of that end of year work deadline or perhaps the ensuing panic about last minute Christmas shopping?
Or is it the realisation that in less than a week, nine members of your extended family will be fighting over the sofa bed?
Let’s face it, there are myriad reasons for us to have trouble sleeping and it’s not just the holiday season either.
When faced with bad food choices, environmental pollutants, stress, noise or illness, our bodies may find it difficult to achieve sleep, or even rest. We are so often mindful of our health in relation to diet and exercise, but forget the vital role that sleep plays in our overall health and well-being.
If you’re doing your best impersonation of the living dead around the office, not only are you an ineffectual employee but also sustained lack of sleep over a period of time can have serious health consequences, including reduced attention span, dizziness, irritability, nausea and heart palpitations.
Indeed, the therapeutic benefits of sleep are so important that they are worth noting. Sleep speeds up wound healing, resets metabolic processes, rejuvenates body tissue and assists the brain in consolidating information acquired throughout the day, thus reducing stress and increasing our brain capacity.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends, then adding more raw food to your daily diet may assist your body in achieving sleep.
Melatonin and Serotonin
Ok, quick science lesson: we achieve sleep when levels of serotonin (a mood-regulating neurotransmitter) and melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone released at night) are produced at the correct levels in the evening to induce a feeling of sleepiness. For people with an imbalance of melatonin or serotonin, eating foods rich in the amino acid, tryptophan can assist in upping the levels of both, therefore achieving sleep.
So which raw foods should we be eating?
Foods rich in tryptophan include beans, whole grains, peanuts, hazelnuts, guava, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
Happily, the kaleidoscope of raw food choices includes the gamut of foods scientifically proven to achieve shut-eye.
Magnesium rich spices, nuts, pumpkin seeds and green leafy vegetables can help relax the muscles and reduce nervous excitement, preparing the body and the mind for a soothing night’s rest.
Seaweeds and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cress and bok choy) are also known to improve sleep quality given their high amino acid and calcium content. A study published in the European Neurology Journal showed that calcium levels elevate in the body during deep sleep, and that the absence of deep sleep and subsequent sleep disturbances are related to calcium deficiencies.
So, before you hit the hay, head to our website, select your raw food menu or consider joining our 14 day Healthy, Gorgeous & Tipsy Detox Online and prepare for some serious noise in the bedroom. We mean snoring, people!