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Do You Know Eating The Right Kind Of Food Can Actually Help You Sleep?

Do You Know Eating The Right Kind Of Food Can Actually Help You Sleep?

Have you ever laid in bed, exhausted from the day’s activities, and yet still can’t fall asleep?

Do you wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard, impossible even, to get back to sleep?

Have you tried cutting out caffeine and other stimulants from your diet, and still can’t sleep?

Have you resorted to prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids to get you through the night?

If you have trouble sleeping, you aren’t alone. It’s estimated that over 20 million Americans experience some form of sleep problems, and over 40 million suffer from a chronic sleep condition. From trouble falling asleep to the inability to enjoy a full night’s rest, there exist more than 70 different sleep disorders that force many people to seek intervention. But most people don’t consider that, aside from sleep aids, there are many foods to help you sleep.

Why Try Foods Over Other Treatments to Help You Sleep?

Losing a night or two of sleep doesn’t seem like a big deal for most people, but too many sleepless nights can quickly take a toll on many aspects of your body. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, focus, physical appearance, and memory, and can ultimately lead to an increased risk in heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

These are serious consequences, but are ones that can be avoided when you introduce enough of the right foods into your diet.

People who continuously experience sleep troubles often turn to mainstream medicine to get quick relief. Doctors can prescribe medications that can make you sleep, or you can grab an over-the-counter sleep remedy. These seem like viable options to people who are desperate for any amount of sleep, but medications also come with their own sets of risks, like dependency, that might make you worse off than if you had forgone them altogether.

Prescription drugs and supplements often carry some type of dependency risk factor, tricking your body into lowering its own natural production of chemicals that help induce sleep. Sometimes, sleeping pills can help you get such an incredible night’s sleep that you’ll never want to go to bed without them again. But long-term use isn’t usually recommended.

Granted, most people know that foods and drinks like soda, coffee, and chocolate can greatly boost your inability to fall asleep, even when your body feels tired. But just as there exists stimulating edibles to keep you alert and moving, there are also several foods to help you sleep.

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And unlike potentially addicting sleeping pills, these foods are 100% safe, non-addicting, and prescription-free.

Before you make a mad dash to the pharmacy to help you catch your zzz’s, try incorporating some of these foods to help you sleep more soundly:

Walnuts

    Walnuts are a solid source of the amino acid Tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin and melatonin to help you sleep. Each 1-ounce serving of walnuts contains about 170 mg of tryptophan, so about 5-6 servings would equal that of an OTC supplement. In addition, the high quantity of tryptophan in walnuts can also help subside some of the moodiness generated by lack of sleep.

    Researchers from the University of Texas discovered that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, another chemical in the brain responsible for helping you sleep. Melatonin is available as an OTC supplement, but walnuts help you get it naturally.

    This dessert recipe is chock full of walnuts.

    Turkey

      Another food rich in tryptophan, there’s a reason why people want to snooze right after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. Turkey contains between 250-310 mg of tryptophan per 3-ounce serving, which is about the size of a pack of playing cards.

      Granted, most other meats contain about the same amount of tryptophan as turkey. But turkey, being a lean meat rich in protein, iron, zinc, and potassium, can also give you the benefit of better skin and teeth (due to the high amount of phosphorus) and lower cholesterol.

      Make your own mouth-watering turkey with this recipe.

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      Cheese, Milk & Yogurt

        You may have heard that a glass of warm milk can help you sleep, but honestly any dairy products can do the trick. Calcium-rich cheese, milk and yogurt helps the brain use the tryptophan to create sleep-inducing melatonin.

        Here’s a recipe for yogurt you can make in your own kitchen.

        You need calcium in your diet regardless of your sleep habits. Calcium can help prevent bone damage or loss, and helps regulate your muscle movement. It’s recommended that you take in between 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Eight ounces of plain, low fat yogurt typically contains around 475 mg of calcium, while an 8-ounce glass of milk yields around 276 mg. Don’t take more than 500 mg of calcium at each meal, and be sure you take it with some Vitamin C to increase absorption.

        Cherries

          It’s been found that all varieties of cherries are high in melatonin, which is crucial in inducing sleep. The best way to get your fill is to drink a glass of tart cherry juice or eat one cup of whole cherries before you turn in for the night.

          In addition, cherries can have a positive effect on joint pain and arthritis. If pain caused by arthritis is the culprit keeping you up at night, cherries could help alleviate both problems.

          Try this recipe for Sparkling Cherry Juice.

          Tuna

            Boasting even more trytophan than turkey, fish such as tuna, cod and halibut can help you sleep. A four-ounce portion of yellowfin tuna packs more than 300 mg of tryptophan. Try this yellowfin tuna recipe.

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            In addition, you can also get the added benefit of essential Omega-3 fatty acids that can help with depression, hypertension, joint pain, and arthritis.

            Honey

              The natural sugars in honey give your insulin levels a slight boost, which helps tryptophan easily enter your brain. Honey helps build a steady supply of glucose to get your body through the night, and contributes to melatonin release.

              Add a spoonful of honey to your chamomile tea, or slurp it straight from the spoon to set yourself on a path to a more restful sleep.

              This recipe combines honey with yogurt and fresh fruit to give you a tripe threat in combating sleeplessness.

              Chia Seeds

                They might be tiny, but chia seeds pack about 202 mg of tryptophan into every two-tablespoon serving. Chia seeds are also rich in calcium, another helpful aid in sleeping.

                Add a sprinkling of chia seeds to any of the above recipes. It doesn’t change the flavor, but will give you all the benefits.

                Pretzels

                  Pretzels produce a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, which reduces the time it takes you to fall asleep. Just like with honey, this burst also helps tryptophan enter your brain.

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                  You can buy pretzels at the store, or make your own healthier pretzels at home with this recipe .

                  Rice

                    Rice’s high glycemic index will, just like honey and pretzels, helps shorten the time it takes you to arrive in dreamland.

                    Both brown and red rice are high in tryptophan, with about 101 mg of it in each half-cup. Brown rice is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, two essentials that can promote a better night’s sleep.

                    This recipe combines trytophan-rich turkey and rice into one tasty dinner.

                    Bananas

                      Packed with potassium and magnesium, bananas can provide a quick remedy to help you get your nightly rest. A deficiency in magnesium has been attributed to relestless leg syndrome (RLS) and nighttime muscle cramps, two common occurrences that can hinder your night’s sleep.

                      You can get 32 mg of magnesium in a single banana, but you will need around 310-320 mg of magnesium per day to avoid deficiency.

                      This fun recipe for banana rice pudding combines bananas, rice and calcium-rich rice milk, three foods that can help you sleep.

                      Featured photo credit: parkimedes via youtube.com

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                      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                      Video Summary

                      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                      One Exercise, multiple benefits

                      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                    How to hold a plank position

                                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                      • Prolapse
                                      • After prolapse surgery
                                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                      • Previous childbirth
                                      • Overweight

                                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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