Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sleep or a lack thereof

With sleep deprivation becoming another on an ever growing list of health related problems at epidemic proportions that this country is facing, I can't help but blame the biggest offender of them all... Diet!

As a country the average diet is poor at best, with processed foods and fast foods topping the list. An empty over calorie'd diet high in fat, sugar, sodium, and chemicals in the form of additives and fillers, and lacking in just about all that is healthy is taking its toll on something that should come so natural (sleep). These over processed foods high in simple carbs, simple sugars, and simple salts do nothing but make blood sugar levels spike leaving you hungry again sooner than later, sends cholesterol levels through the roof and waistlines through the "belt", not to mention have caused a drastic shift in the body's healthy Omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to Omega-6(promote inflammation) ratio .

There are many symptoms due to poor diet (inflammation in all its forms, chronic pain, stress and anxiety...) that are the popular targets for the billion dollar industry of quelling a sleepless nation, but
as I've preached many times before, address the cause not the symptom.

Eating the right foods equals a healthy diet, and a healthy diet equals a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn't you prefer to experience the symptoms of a healthy diet... No more pain and inflammation, no more depression and anxiety, a body that can actually deal with stress instead of going into stress overload, and ultimately SLEEP!

Focusing on the long term solution of eating a healthy diet consisting of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, and grass-fed beef free-grazed poultry and eggs and wild caught fish will no doubt over time address all of the 'poor diet symptoms' mentioned above, but in the mean time trying some of these "Evening friendly foods" may help those eyes stay shut and minds quite during the night.

"So eating more anti-inflammatory foods and reducing or eliminating highly processed foods.... will help you sleep.

The amino acid tryptophan is used by the body to produce serotonin and serotonin plus dark produces melatonin and melatonin regulates sleep. To get more tryptophan to enter brain add a fast digesting carb (honey, mashed potatoes) to protein in supper to stimulate the release of insulin that allows tryptophan to enter brain. Examples of this are: turkey and potatoes, warm milk and honey (heat enhances tryptophan effect of foods), turkey on whole grain bread, a banana, a handful of nuts, or a slice of cheese.

Oatmeal, whole grain cereals and breads complex carbs increase production of serotonin."

See Causes of Sleep Problems for more information.

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