My battles with sleepless nights continue. One option is to try CherryActive juice which has high levels of melatonin, the hormone which regulates sleep. As we get older melatonin levels tend to decline until by our 60s most montmorency cherry has been put to much scientific research – results suggest that regular consumption of the cherry antioxidants may help reduce inflamation, cholesterol and fatigue, maintain muscular strength, increase joint health and normalise uric acid levels (reducing the affect of gout). It’s fantasticly high antioxidant content is also likely to look after your brain’s grey-matter and general health for a longer time.
My friend recently got into green tea. He was reading a self-help book on how to reduce stress, took the hint and is now practically addicted to the stuff. (It makes for neat little gifts to him: green tea and nettle, green tea with orange and lotus flower, green tea with interesting red bits…)
Because green tea is steamed rather than fermented, like the more familiar black tea, that is what holds its antioxidant and anticancer properties. The latest report out this month is that drinking five cups a day would reduce your risk of getting blood and lymph cancers by over 40%. In fact so well documented is the healing effect of green tea that 1000s of studies now exist into its benefits. My friend thinks he’s drinking something to help him de-stress but he could be helping to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and weight-gain. Not bad for a cup of green stuff.
Incidentally, green tea contains half the caffeine of coffee and slightly less than black tea, so you can drink it before bedtime. Since it aids digestion and cleanses the pallet it is also good to drink after a meal or in the afternoon as a pick me up. It is best made with spring or filtered water and usually brewed for only a short time. Personally, I like to drink it before the evening begins as it really does help clear away the day’s stress. If you’re anything like me (or my friend) you’ll find it will help relax you, giving you composure for the twilight hours.
Have I mentioned before that I don’t always get a good night’s sleep? I tend to swear by Natrasleep which doesn’t knock you out but delivers a blissful slumber once you finally drift off. I usually wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day; and, of course, I like it because it is made from herbal products (valerian and hops) and it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
However, American scientists have found that a ‘cooling cap‘ can help insomniacs to sleep better, because it lowers activity in your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain thought to help you switch off for a good night’s sleep. But British academics are not so excited. Professor Jim Horne, of Loughborough University, suggested a fan at night might help as much.
If, like me, you’re an insomniac you will probably have tried a lot of things already. And there are some great natural things to try. Some of us are better with teas and others with tablets. But it might interest you to know that the much talked about new kid on the block, acai berry, is thought to improve sleep as well. I haven’t tried this one yet. If you have, please post a review. It comes as a vegicap, a drink and a tea. It is also reported to be excellent to aid weight loss, to help fight stress, to improve digestion and to help maintain good skin! Wow, and all as I sleep?
According to one survey, one third of people in the UK have trouble sleeping about three times a week so I’m not alone.
Here’s a list of things that I find useful when I’m trying to nod off.
- Get up, do something downstairs, go back to bed when you feel tired.
- Stay cool, but wear something to keep your chest warm.
- Write down the things in your head onto a notepad – empty your mind.
- Black out your windows.
- Avoid chilli, bananas and cheese (or anything high in protein).
- Exercise earlier in the day.
- Change your bed sheets.
- Use in-ear earphones to listen to the radio (they fall out when you turn over and then you can’t hear it anymore).
- Drink some cocoa.
At the end of the day (or should that be in the early hours of the morning?) you just have to do what works for you…