Written by Jill Ettinger
One of the biggest health problems today is the lack of quality sleep. Rather than zonking yourself out with Ambien or other medications, try organic alternatives you can add to your diet. Sweet Dreams.
- Lemongrass-The next time you get that yummy Thai Lemongrass Tofu soup, you might notice that you have pleasant dreams that night. Lemongrass's calming properties have been long revered to ward off nightmares. And here's a really useful tip for those of you regularly battling with your cutlery: Maylasians also believed that it can protect you from a sword penetrating the skin.
- Passionflower-The harmine and harman alkaloids in passionflower cause the nervous system to relax. It can make you sleepy without feeling groggy or disoriented. Passionflower is great in teas or tinctures and is safe for children.
- Chamomile-This herb has long been used for relaxation. It's safe enough for infants and its delicate fruity fragrance is as relaxing as its therapeutic properties. Chamomile is great as a tea but can bring a lot of flavor to your favorite cookie recipes too. A little dab of chamomile essential oil is so good it might actually send you into a coma.
- Chocolate-We often think of chocolate as something to keep us awake because it contains small amounts of caffeine. But, it is also a rich source of the "bliss" chemicals theobromine and anandamine, which induce relaxation and the feelings associated with being in love.
- Goji Berries-These raisin-sized orange berries from the Himalayas are superfoods because they contain polysaccharides, germanium, iron, B vitamins and amino acids. Getting enough B vitamins is crucial to stress relief, which can help you get your zzz's.
- Kale-The "king" of leafy green vegetables is loaded with calcium, which aids the brain in sleep. Kale is also a great source of vitamins and other minerals needed to balance the body so that it can effectively do all its maintenance work while you're dreaming of other kings. Kale is one of the top ten healthy foods for women!
- Hazelnuts-These crunchy and slightly sweet nuts are actually high in tryptophan, the amino acid that promotes sleepiness. Tryptophan makes melatonin, which helps us get a restful night of deep sleep. Add it to your chocolate and you'll think you already are in a dream.
- Lentils-Another high tryptophan food, lentils are great in soups, stews and even pates. They are high in fiber, too, so chances are your, um, internal clock will wake you before your alarm does.
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*Photo Courtesy of DakotaDuff