October 31, 2015

Super food Honey and salt as Natural Insomnia Cure

Did you know that you can find insomnia cure just from the kitchen?
Scientists suggest that sleep can be induced by consuming foods rich in a nutrient called tryptophan, as well as foods that contribute to the body's natural production of tryptophan and serotonin, a hormone which promotes relaxation by signalling the brain 'it's time to sleep'.
Super-food honey is said to contain the sleep inducing amino acid tryptophan that is useful for overcoming insomnia. Thus, to promote sleep, some people have inculcated the habit of mixing a teaspoon of honey into a glass of herbal tea or warm milk before bedtime. And for children who have bed wetting problems, taking a teaspoon of honey before bed is believed to be helpful as honey aids water retention, and promotes relaxation of the body.
Unlike processed sugars, eating honey raises blood sugar level only slightly. The controlled rise of insulin causes the tryptophan to enter our brain and get converted into serotonin. And in darkness, serotonin is converted into melatonin, a well-known cure for sleeping disorders.

The consumption of one or two tablespoonfuls of honey at night to promote good quality sleep. Our body stores ready-to-use energy as glycogen in the liver. When the liver runs out of glycogen at night, our brain starts to trigger stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin to convert protein muscle into glucose. Long term metabolic stress from cortisol production as a result of inadequate liver glycogen stores leads to insulin resistance, diabetes, and risk of obesity,cardiovascular disease. Both short or poor quality sleep and prolonged sleep (ie getting up late) produces similar metabolic responses as the brain seeks to insure sufficient glycogen stores to fuel energy demands. Pure natural honey is believed to be the best food for glycogen storage as it contains the ideal 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose. When taken prior to bed, it is able to provide sufficient glycogen storage for the necessary fuelling of the liver, ease stress hormones and help us get a restful sleep at night.

Restorative sleep is critical for memory, cognitive enhancement, as well as all of the reparative functions necessary for muscle, bone and other tissues. And honey is the optimum fuel for the brain to sustain restorative sleep while preventing metabolic stress during the night. 

Sleeping Late Can Be Costly

If you are part of the growing number of urban insomniacs, don't take sleep too lightly. A study by the University of Warwick showed that those who cut their sleep from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk of death from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.

Salt and sleep are two words that don’t naturally seem to belong in the same sentence, but salt may actually be the missing link between you and a good night’s sleep.
Sleep and salt are connected by simple metabolic processes. Salt has very specific effects on stress hormones and brain chemicals that can lead to less stress and better sleep.

But Isn’t Salt Bad for Me?

Before we get into how salt can help you get better sleep, I want to dispel the “low-salt” myth. Low-salt diets are promoted as healthy for everyone, but the scientific evidence disagrees.
“No strong evidence exists that advising people to eat less salt or putting them on a low-salt diet reduces their death rate or cuts cardiovascular events, an analysis of seven studies found.” 
But there is some evidence that low-salt diets can actually have a negative impact on our metabolic health:
  • Low-salt diets have been linked to promoting insulin resistance in healthy individuals. When two groups of men and women were given a high-salt diet versus a low-salt diet, the low salt diet group developed markers for insulin resistance. 
  • One 2011 study found that people who consume a moderate amount of salt were in the lowest risk category for heart problems and death, even lower than people who ate less salt.  In this study, “moderate” sodium intake was about 4,000 – 6,000 milligrams per day. (Interesting, when you consider the USDA recommends sodium intake should be less than 2,300 milligrams per day.)

How Salt Can Help You Get Better Sleep

Now on to the good stuff. Salt can help you relax and finally get to sleep in two ways:
Salt Lowers Stress. You know those nights when you can’t sleep because your mind is racing with thoughts about work or something else you’re stressed about? Salt can actually help calm you down! Research shows that salt has a unique effect on stress levels. Having enough sodium in your bloodstream can reduce your stress response, so you don’t experience as much anxiety about things that might normally stress you out .
Salt Raises Oxytocin Levels. Salt also contributes to another important anti-stress action in the body: it raises your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps you feel calm and relaxed, and increases your sense of well being–the exact feelings you’ll want to experience if you’re trying to settle down and get ready for sleep.

How to Use Salt to Get Better Sleep

Here are some easy ways you can use salt to get better sleep:
Salt your food to taste during the day. Follow your body’s cues when it comes to salt intake. As long as you’re eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods, the body has a pretty good sense of how much salt you need.
Throughout the day, your need for salt may fluctuate depending on many factors that affect your electrolyte balance, so listening to your body and salting your food to taste is the best way to maintain the balance your body needs for optimal metabolic function.
Eat a balanced bedtime snack. A simple snack that contains fat, protein and carbohydrates plus a little salt can do wonders for your sleep. Try something like this:
  • fruit and cheese
  • vegetable broth salted to taste with a side of rice
  • a serving of your favorite dessert with some salted nuts
Drink a bedtime tonic with a dash of salt. Try adding a dash or two of salt to a calming bedtime tonic like homemade hot chocolate sweetened with maple syrup or honey, or to your favorite herbal tea (holy basil and chamomile are especially calming).
Take it straight. Some people find it easy to simply put up to 1/8 teaspoon of salt straight on their tongue and then chase it with a small glass of fresh juice, real milk or filtered water.

What Kind of Salt is Best?

Commercial table salt is often loaded with additives, so at the very least, choose a salt that is additive-free (such as canning salt). Even better, go with a natural sea salt  that contains trace minerals in addition to sodium.

A Simple Mixture For A Restful Sleep
Make a simple mixture of 2 teaspoons raw honey with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Eat this mixture before sleep time can improve your sleep effectively. While there are still many other natural ways to cure insomnia, so don’t just stop here:
Chamomile Tea – Studies found that this herbal tea is especially good for relieving the symptoms of mild insomnia. This is due to the chrysin it contains, which has ability to relieve anxiety and promote sleep quality.
Lemon Balm – According to studies, lemon balm may help with anxiety-related insomnia. It works great to reduce stress and anxiety to promote sleep.
Passion Flower – This herb has a calming effect, it’s widely used as a herbal sleep aid and it’s totally safe for both adults and children. You can take passion flower for relaxing and improving sleep as a tea or tincture.
Kava Kava – This plant has been shown to produce a feeling of relaxation, and it’s also recommended for chronic fatigue. While ask your doctor before taking this herb, as long term use may lead to liver damage.
California Poppy – California poppy is also able to make you feel relaxed. It reduces anxiety and improves your sleep, you can take it as a tea or tincture.
Catnip – Catnip is known for its calming effect and it contains substances that are similar to those found in valerian.

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