Sleep Cycle

Sleep disorders are generally divided into 3 categories: lack of sleep, disturbed sleep, and too much sleep. The sleep cycle is controlled by chemicals in our brain and blood. Chemical imbalances caused by food or medicine can disrupt signals that tell the body to fall asleep or wake up.

Caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and antidepressants, can all disrupt the sleep cycle or interfere with sleep quality. Eating too late at night, particularly heavy foods, can lead to grogginess in the morning because the body's metabolic processes interfere with sound sleep.

In addition to mental and physical slowness, sleep deprivation has been linked to impaired immune function, carbohydrate cravings, hardening of the arteries, depression, obesity, and breast cancer.

Beneficial Foods

Cherries A natural source of melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep cycle. Try eating cherries one hour before bedtime.
Leafy Greens - General Most provide tryptophan which aids in sleep. They make a light, low-fat meal, which allows for a peaceful night's rest.
Maca Improves sleep quality.
Pumpkin Seeds High levels of tryptophan help regulate the sleep cycle. Avoid eating to excess near bedtime due to the fat content.

Beneficial Nutrients

Calcium Has a relaxing, calming effect on the body. A deficiency in calcium can cause restlessness which prevents sleep. Take calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, 45 minutes before bedtime.
Magnesium Helps induce sleep. A deficiency in magnesium can cause nervousness which prevents sleep. Taking calcium and magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, 45 minutes before bedtime can help with this.
Protein/Amino Acids The amino acid tryptophan is converted into serotonin, the hormone that controls sleep.
Tin May help treat some cases of insomnia.
Vitamin B6 Often used to treat insomnia.
Vitamin B12 Often used to treat insomnia.