I have exciting news.
Today’s Health Watch comes to you straight from the desk of Dr. Isaac Eliaz. One of the nation’s top integrative physicians, Dr. Eliaz is a true pioneer in holistic medicine. He’s also the founder and medical director of the Amitabha Medical Clinic, which specializes in cancer and chronic conditions.
In this issue, he’ll reveal the five best (and worst) foods you can eat for a night of deep, restful sleep. But this is just the beginning. In the weeks to come, he’ll share more of his favorite—and most powerful—natural healing solutions. So keep your eye on your in box.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch
By Dr. Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
A good night’s sleep is a critical ingredient for better health. Studies show that even one night of interrupted sleep can result in significant changes to gene expression. Prolonged sleep loss, ongoing sleep disturbances, and disrupted sleep cycles are shown to contribute to chronic health conditions. These include diabetes and certain cancers.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimal health. But most of us are chronically sleep deprived. So we try to make up for lost sleep whenever there’s extra time.
But our efforts may be in vain. Once rest patterns are disrupted, it takes a lot more than sleeping late on the weekends to regain balance.
Conventional sleep aids and OTC drugs can make us feel drowsy the next day. And they can come with other serious side effects, like addiction. Yet with electronics, work, and life’s anxieties keeping us up at night… Many people need more than herbal bedtime tea and a book.
A Natural Path to Better Sleep
To achieve quality sleep—the kind where you feel energized and refreshed upon waking—requires a holistic approach. It must take into account numerous systems of the body: hormonal, neurological, digestive, cardiovascular, and more.
Exercise and diet are two of the most important factors for quality sleep. Regular exercise doesn’t just expend excess energy and help us to get physically tired. It metabolizes stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These prevent us from unwinding.
Along with exercise, nutrient-dense foods provide support for neurological health and hormone balance. Together these promote healthy relaxation and sleep patterns that are in tune with natural day-night cycles.
The 5 Best (And Worst) Foods for Restful Sleep
The amino acid tryptophan is notorious for making us tired after a Thanksgiving dinner. (To be fair, the wine, stuffing, and pie may also play a part.) Tryptophan is found in most meats, but is particularly high in turkey. Our bodies convert it into serotonin and melatonin, which help us relax and sleep.
Bananas and lentils also provide tryptophan. This is in addition to magnesium and potassium, which can have calming and relaxing effects. Tart cherries are a good source of natural melatonin. In moderation, starchy carbs like sweet potatoes, can also support sleep. But again, don’t overindulge right before sleep.
But there are also foods and ingredients to avoid.
Caffeine is obvious. A cup of coffee or strong tea in the hours before bedtime can disrupt sleep. Sugar, gluten, alcohol, and dairy can also be problematic. These can fuel inflammation and wreak havoc throughout the body. They disrupt the hormonal signals that help us reach deep, restorative sleep.
You should also avoid large meals close to bedtime, since the digestive process can hinder sleep.
The foods you eat can have a major impact on your sleep quality. They can be the difference between a restless night and restorative sleep. But they aren’t your only natural tools for improving slumber.
Next time, I’ll tell you the most important things to avoid in the hours before bed—and the five best natural supplements you can take for better sleep.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, M.D., is one of the nation’s premier integrative physicians. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the 1980s and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers. He is founder and medical director of Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, Calif., which specializes in cancer and chronic conditions.
Visit his website at www.dreliaz.org