People who have insomnia often feel as if they are alone. It is easy to feel as if you are the only person awake when you’re tossing and turning at 3 am, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before your alarm goes off and you need to get up and get to work.
If you suffer from insomnia, you are not alone. The truth is that insomnia is an epidemic.
In order to understand how widespread insomnia is, let’s take a look at some statistics:
- On average, people sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago.
- 10% of adults in the United States have chronic insomnia.
- One in three people will experience insomnia during their lifetimes.
- The numbers are even higher for older people – 40-60% of people over 60 experience difficulty sleeping.
- Depression and insomnia go hand in hand – 90% of people who suffer from depression also have trouble getting enough sleep.
- Women are almost twice as likely to have insomnia as men are.
- About 10 million people in the United States depend on prescription medication to help them sleep.
The effects of insomnia go far beyond sleep deprivation. People who don’t get enough rest are more prone to gain weight – there’s a directly correlation between obesity and insomnia. Not only that, but a huge number of people – 60% according to one survey – have driven while feeling sleepy, and sleep-related accidents kill about 1,500 people every year. Insomnia can also contribute to anxiety, difficulty with memory and a host of other problems.
Insomnia and Nutrition
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to sleeplessness – or to taking prescription medications with a host of nasty side effects. It turns out, there’s a direct link between the fuel you take in during the day and your ability to sleep at night. When it comes to getting enough sleep, you really are what you eat.
One thing that can have an effect on your ability to fall asleep is not controlling your blood sugar. In addition to contributing to thinks like obesity and diabetes, high blood sugar can boost your energy, making it more difficult for you to rest. Low blood sugar can be just as bad for you – when your levels are too low, your body release cortisol, which causes the release of stored glucose into your bloodstream.
The same goes for caffeine consumption. Many people rely on the caffeine in coffee, tea and soda to keep them going throughout the day. But if you drink too much of it, too close to bedtime, you may pay for it with a sleepless night.
Perhaps the most important nutritional consideration when it comes to sleep, though, is a deficiency of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral, sometimes known as “nature’s relaxant.” It helps to counteract the effects of calcium – but while most people get more than enough calcium in their diets, magnesium deficiency is fairly common. Magnesium is also a natural stress-reliever.
One popular sleep aid is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body, but many people take melatonin pills before bed. As an alternative, you can eat foods that boost your body’s natural production of melatonin.
10 Foods to Reduce Insomnia
Since magnesium intake and melatonin production play such a big role in regulating sleep, let’s take a look at 10 foods that can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Eating foods that boost your magnesium levels and help your body produce more melatonin can help you get a better night’s sleep. Even better, these foods are all packed with other nutrients that will help improve your overall health – and they don’t carry the risks associated with prescription sleep medications. If you incorporate these foods into your daily diet, you’ll be sleeping better in no time.