Friday, March 16, 2012

Get a Good Night's Sleep the Natural Way!

Getting a good night’s rest is so important to your health, which is why the topic of quality, restful sleep has been in the news a lot recently.  Sleeping better obviously helps you feel more alert, but it can also improve your productivity, keep you on track with your diet, help you live longer, and make you a happier, healthier person in general. And did you know that people who have been awake more than 16 hours perform the same as those who are legally impaired in a roadside evaluation? Yikes!

More sleep keeps you healthy and can result in weight loss because of the production of two specific hormones during REM sleep. Leptin and gherlin are hormones that regulate the appetite and our feelings of “fullness.”  If we have too little sleep leptin levels plummet, resulting in the feeling of not being satisfied after a meal.  At the same time, gherlin levels rise, causing us to feel more hungry.  Recently scientists have discovered that high levels of gherlin not only make us gravitate toward food, but also crave higher carbohydrate, fatty foods.  Being awake longer does not necessarily mean we are burning more calories, however, so we gain weight.

Although some people turn to medications to fall asleep at night, there is new research that shows this may not be the best way to manage sleep issues. In a recent study, use of prescription sleeping pills was linked with increased risk of earlier mortality, including cancer deaths. The study found people who took18 sleeping pills or fewer per year had more than 3.5 times higher a risk for death than those who didn't take any sleeping pills.

What can you do to sleep better without prescriptions? It shouldn’t be a surprise that regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you get better sleep, but there are specific natural foods that also aid in quality sleep.  Recently, Dr. Oz featured five foods on his television program that can help you get a more restful sleep—including tart cherry juice!

Tart cherry juice made from Montmorency cherries contains a high level of melatonin, a naturally occurring compound produced by humans, animals, plants and microbes. Melatonin has several important functions in the human body, including in the sleep cycle. In our modern lives, many things are thought to disrupt the natural cycle of melatonin production in our bodies, including artificial light, electronics, jet lag and shift work. Drinking one or two 8 oz. servings of tart cherry juice everyday provides a steady supply of melatonin that can help you get a deeper, more restful sleep.  

Here in Cheribundi Land, we like to drink ours late in the afternoon, around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. How about you?

1 comment:

  1. Everyone should get "help" the natural way. I haven't tried tart cherry juice yet, but this is a great post! :)