Advertising
Advertising

8 Great Foods That Help You Sleep Better And Stay Healthier

8 Great Foods That Help You Sleep Better And Stay Healthier

Having trouble sleeping? Your diet may be the culprit. Our sleep cycle and quality of sleep greatly depends on the types of foods we eat, and when our diet is improperly balanced, our quality of sleep suffers. The good news is it’s fairly easy to get back on track by cutting out the junk and consuming more foods that naturally induce sleep. Here are some of the best choices to grab for when you find yourself wide awake when you’d rather be sleeping.

Almonds

Almonds are the perfect bite-sized, convenient snack to chase away insomnia. Chocked full with sleep inducing and muscle relaxing magnesium, a serving of almonds prior to bedtime can help you fall asleep faster. When the body’s supply of magnesium is too low, it becomes much harder to fall asleep. Almonds are also full of protein, which stabilizes blood sugar and improves the quality of your sleep.

Advertising

High Glycemic Foods

The gylcemic index measures a food’s effect on blood sugar; specifically how fast blood glucose levels rise after consuming a particular food item. The Glycemic Index ranges up to a score of 100, and the higher the score, the faster that particular food item causes spikes in blood glucose levels when consumed. High gylcemic foods, mainly carbohydrates with a glycemic index score of 70 or higher, induce sleep because these foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels. This is why most people feel a sudden burst of energy then a sudden crash in energy when they consume carbohydrate-laden foods. Additionally, when the body experiences insulin spikes, it naturally releases more tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals that increase relaxation.

A sleepless night is the perfect time to make use of this side effect of carbohydrate-laden foods. For optimal results, eat high glycemic foods about 4 hours before your desired bed time.

Advertising

Bananas

A single banana is sleep inducing powerhouse. Full of magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, bananas have practically everything you need to relax and fall asleep faster during a restless night. The potassium and magnesium found in bananas functions as a natural muscle relaxer. The tryptophan found in bananas converts to melatonin and serotonin, two of the body’s essential calming hormones. Keep a few bananas at your bedside to keep sleepless nights at bay.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs are the perfect sleep improvement food for people who have no trouble falling asleep, but find difficulty in staying asleep all throughout the night. The protein found in eggs levels out blood sugar and keeps it steady throughout the night. Eating an egg prior to bedtime prevents the blood sugar roller coaster that interrupts sleep at random hours in the morning. High protein foods like eggs also fights acid reflux, a disorder that often flares up at night, making sleep difficult for many sufferers. Keep seven or so boiled eggs stocked in your refrigerator to have a sleep inducing bedtime snack readily available each night of the week.

Advertising

Milk

Downing a glass of milk before bedtime is a tried and true classic for relaxation. Milk contains high levels of tryptophan, which acts as a sleep inducing sedative. Milk is also a great source of calcium, which helps regulate melatonin production. When you find yourself awake at night when you’d rather be asleep, try a warm glass of milk, and add some cinnamon to make it sweeter and give it a sleep inducing boost.

Fish

Eating certain types of fish for dinner can help improve your natural sleep cycle and the quality of your sleep. Fish such as tuna, salmon, cod, and halibut are great sources of vitamin B6, which the body needs to synthesize melatonin and serotonin. Both of these chemicals provide the psychological and physical improvements our body needs to sleep better. B6 vitamins also have an antidepressant effect on the brain, which can relieve depression and other mood altering disorders that can affect sleep. The B6 vitamins and other nutrients found in fish can preserve the body’s circadian rhythm, which not only improves your quality of sleep, but improves your overall health.

Advertising

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are full of nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium that individually induce sleep, so imagine the power of these nutrients when acting in unison. Several leafy green lettuces also contain lactucarium, which is a milky fluid-like secretion with sedative properties similar to opium. Incorporate a small salad into all of your night time meals to speed up the onset of sleep and enjoy a full night of rest.

Cherries

A single serving of cherries has enough power to naturally boost the body’s melatonin levels within an hour of bedtime. If fresh cherries are out of season in your area, frozen cherries, cherry juice, and even dried cherries should will work just as effectively at curbing your insomnia.

More by this author

foods to make you sleep better 8 Great Foods That Help You Sleep Better And Stay Healthier 16 Benefits of Lemon You May Not Know About

Trending in Health

1 10 Best Kombucha Brands To Improve Gut Health 2 12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind 3 14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet 4 10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life 5 How to Deal With Stress the Healthy Way

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

Advertising

Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

Advertising

Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

Advertising

This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

Advertising

4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

More on Meditation

Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

Read Next