By: Kristy Hay
A few nights of tossing and turning or restless sleep, better known as insomnia, has gotten the best of us. It’s a multicausal, common sleep disorder that can wreak havoc on how our bodies’ normally function. Insomnia is known to cause lack of energy, depression, anxiety, daytime sleepiness, slowed motor control, and poor memory retention and recollection.1 Whether it is caused by stress, medications, or other primary diseases, evidence has shown that there are some plant-based foods that can act as a natural remedy to aid in a better nights rest due to their melatonin levels. Melatonin, a hormone naturally secreted from the pineal gland in the brain, has been shown to help improve and lengthen people’s sleeping patterns when taken exogenously.2 Tart cherry juice and almonds are great sources of melatonin and both tart cherries in whole and liquid form have been studied to aid in the treatment of this condition.2,3 Additionally, magnesium, a mineral that is abundant in almonds and also in tart cherries, has been proven to help aid in sleep efficiency due to it’s anti-stress properties as well as being a natural muscle relaxer .4 In addition to magnesium, almonds also contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which helps synthesize the sleep-aid neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin. So, an hour or so before your bedtime, go ahead and enjoy a glass of tart cherry juice, chow down on a small palm-full of almonds, or try these recipes to help ease you into a restful night’s sleep.
Tart Cherry Lime Gummies
- 1/4 cup of tart cherry juice
- 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice (strained)
- 2 Tbsp of honey
- 3 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin
- Heath juices on medium until warm but not boiling.
- Lower heat to low and add in the honey till incorporated.
- Add gelatin, one tbsp at a time, till dissolved.
- Pour mixture into a silicone molds or a glass dish that is very light greased with coconut oil.
- Freeze for 1-2 hours, depending on the type of container you used.
- One set, take out and pop out of molds or cut into squares if using a glass dish.
- Store in fridge for up to two weeks.
Adopted by Paleo Running Momma (http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/homemade-gummy-candy-paleo/)
Warm Cinnamon Almond Milk
- 1 cup of Almond Milk
- 1 tsp of honey
- 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- Heat up milk on stove top or in microwave until it begins to foam but not boil. Turn off heat and add honey and vanilla extract. Pour into a mug and sprinkle on the cinnamon. Enjoy!
- What is insomnia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso#. Accessed January 15, 2016.
- Howatson G, Bell P, Tallent J, Middleton B, Mchugh M, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice ( Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European Journal Of Nutrition [serial online]. December 2012;51(8):909-916. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 15, 2017.
- Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, Perlis ML. Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2010;13(3):579-583. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.0096.
- Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2012;17(12):1161-1169.