While there are a few different patterns for insomnia, in Traditional Chinese Medicine all of them include the heart or heat. Try eating calming and cooling foods to help promote deep sleep.

Calming foods to eat 1-2 hours before going to bed:

Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pineapple, bananas, cherries, lemon balm (tea)

Foods to avoid before bedtime:
Alcohol, red meat, spicy foods

Cooling foods to quell excess heat:
Cucumber, plantain, avocados, apples, pears, bananas, lemon, melon, artichoke, beet, shellfish, summer squash, Swiss chard, navy beans, valerian tea

Interestingly, many of the recommended TCM sleep-friendly foods contain nutrients that have been shown to help with sleep. Here are seven nutrient-focused recommendations:

  • Calcium. Low calcium levels can cause disturbed sleep patterns, particularly in the REM sleep phase. Found in: dark greens, fish and citrus fruits
  • Carbohydrates. Carbs can boost the brain chemicals tryptophan and serotonin, which are two hormones involved in sleep cycles. Including starchy carbs for dinner may help you fall asleep faster. Found in: yams and whole grains
  • Magnesium. While sufficient magnesium levels do not guarantee perfect slumber, magnesium deficiency almost always contributes to poor sleep. Found in: soy products, bananas, dried apricots, avocados, spinach, whole grains, almonds and cashews
  • Potassium. If you have trouble staying asleep during the night, consider increasing your potassium. Found in: bananas, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes and mushrooms
  • Selenium. While you only need a trace, low selenium levels can cause sleep abnormalities. Found in: Brazil nuts, shellfish, grains, eggs, chicken, liver and garlic
  • Tryptophan. A natural sedative to help both sleep quality and quantity. Found in: nuts, seeds, tofu, chicken, turkey, oats, beans, lentils and eggs
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can cause disturbed and disrupted sleep. Found in: sunlight, oily fish, egg yolks and Vitamin D fortified foods
If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping, acupuncture can also be a helpful addition.  Insomnia and sleep issues are common, but they don’t have to be.  Give me a call to discuss your treatment options.  You won’t regret it.
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