Watching zombies on TV is much more fun than feeling like one when you can’t get to sleep at night
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Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that’s essential for good sleep, and according to a study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, when magnesium levels are too low people cannot stay asleep and can suffer from insomnia. The solution? Drink almond milk before you go to bed. If a glass of almond milk is too boring, try spicing things up with some cherry juice and a teaspoon of honey. That’ll get the REM sleep train on track.
Catnip is not just for the kitty. This herb has powerful anti-anxiety properties and helps calm the mind so you are lulled into a deep sleep. Try Teepee Dreams from the Native American Tea Company.
Chamomile, along with lavender, is one of the best-known, most commonly used sleep remedies in tea form because it works well, tastes superb, and with the addition of a bit of raw honey for sweetness (honey also triggers a sleep response), it’s an easy first step for the uninitiated.
Scientists still aren’t sure why chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) has a calming, sleep-inducing effect, but it works for many and blends nicely with lavender, lemon balm, and valerian root in Taylors of Harrowgate’s Organic Chamomile Tea.
Chia seeds are considered a “super food” today, but the Mayans and Aztecs also thought they possessed amazing healing powers. They are high in tryptophan, which induces sleep, and the seeds can be enjoyed in a drink before bed as a refreshing alternative to plain water. Try the cherry and lime-flavored chia drink from Mamma Chia — it’s hard to resist. Although they tout the drink’s energy boost, we know that cherry juice is a natural source of sleep-inducing goodness.
Ancient cultures in India have known for centuries that turmeric is a powerful spice that can help with inflammation, arthritis, and a host of other ailments. When combined with magnesium-rich coconut milk, it can be a delicious drink to help you sleep and wake up refreshed. This easy recipe for Golden Turmeric Milk can be made in seconds and includes just a few ingredients; it’s just what busy people need to have on hand.
Not to be confused with coconut milk, which comes from the meat of the coconut, coconut water is slightly cloudy, mildly sweet, and is now bottled for ease of use; just be sure to buy it without any added sugar, preservatives, or coloring. You can drink it on its own or combine it with other fruits, like bananas, that are also high in potassium for a one-two punch of sleepy minerals at bedtime.
Green tea is one of the single best sources of L-theanine. Brew a pot, chill it, and add it to a honey-laced banana smoothie for a bedtime treat, or drink it hot and tuck into a good book for a night of deep, restful sleep. In China, some of the finest green teas are the Lung Ching teas, also known as dragonwell because the tea leaves are wok-fired. For quality, ease of use, and soothing aromas Mighty Leaf’s Dragonwell won’t let you down.
While beer and other alcohol is detrimental to a good night’s sleep, hops (or more precisely the female flowers of the Humulus lupulus hop plant), are a key ingredient in beer and their mild sedative effect can help induce sleep, especially when combined with valerian root, as Germans do. Since hop tea can be bitter, it’s often combined with other herbs and ingredients like lemon balm or chamomile to make it a tasty drink. Try Celebration Tea’s Hop Tea blend with lemon balm and go nighty night.
Since before the Middle Ages, lavender has been used to help people relax. Aromatherapy research shows that simply breathing its scent can relieve tension, improve mood, and alter brain waves. The best lavender often comes from the Mediterranean, especially Provence. When it comes to sheer aromatic pleasure, few tisanes are as calming or lovely as lavender tea.
Lemon balm doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it aids in relaxation and reduces anxiety with its delicate lemon and mint scent and flavor. If you want a natural way to relieve stress, Traditional Medicinals’Lemon Balm Tea works wonders and has loads of fresh lemon and mint flavors; but don’t sip this if you are taking hypothyroid medication.
Warm milk may not contain any particular amino acids or compounds that make you sleep, but the warmth that spreads through your belly has a calming effect, and there are theories that the temperature reminds us of the warm milk we were fed as infants.
In addition to single ingredient teas and tisanes, you should sample some of the sleepy time blends. They offer a wide range of flavors and effective remedies that incorporate a variety of sleep-inducing ingredients. They come in varying strengths so you can choose one that suits your palate and level of fatigue. Puritan’s Pride has nine Nighttime Teas to try, so there is something there for almost everyone.
Most people over 40 are familiar with Ovaltine, the old-time breakfast drink that got its start back in the early 1900s in Berne, Switzerland, but was also produced in England and the United States. This malt-based powder is used to make a drink by adding it to milk, but for an alternative to dairy, and a double whammy of magnesium, blend it with almond milk (almonds are high in magnesium), warm it up on the stove, and drink it before bedtime like a hot chocolate.
Passion flower was a favored analgesic of the Aztecs and it has been used by healers throughout history because it reduces insomnia and is a mild sedative. Alvita’s Passion Flower Herbal Tea is best, but you may want to serve it with some honey and cinnamon to play down the tea’s vegetal character.
Yes, the drink really is called Sleep. This bottled drink from neuro contains no artificial colors or flavors, is only 35 calories per bottle, is vegan, is OU Kosher certified, and comes in three flavors (Peach Apricot Original, Mellow Mango, and Tangerine Dream). All three drinks are a blend of sleep aids that include L-theanine, melatonin, and magnesium, so you can drink this before you go to bed without any fuss since it comes pre-mixed ready to go.
Dark, sour cherries, like the Morello or Montmorency varieties, contain very high levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Their juice, combined with vanilla and honey, makes a lovely drink that will help you sleep and eliminate free radicals. You can use Swanson’s Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate for the juice.
Both the ancient Greeks and the ancient Chinese used the roots of the valerian flower, or Valeriana officinalis, to calm upset stomachs, relieve anxiety, and to promote deep sleep and help regulate sleeping patterns. It is most commonly served as a hot drink, alone or in a blend, but is also available as a pill, extract, and tincture. Its effects can be potent so be careful using it.
For those not cursed with a toxic allergy to nuts, walnuts are a fantastic source of tryptophan and you can eat one ounce plain before you go to bed or try them chopped with sliced banana and blended into an almond milk smoothie for a nighttime drink that will have you dreaming of tropical islands and Eden-like settings.