Get a Good Night’s Sleep — the Natural Way

A good night’s sleep is essential for physical, mental and emotional health.

If good sleep is eluding you, it’s time to examine your diet.

“Good nutrition is important for many aspects of health including sleep,” said Bonnie Cavanaugh, a registered dietitian with Samaritan Weight Management Institute.

Incorporate a variety of beneficial foods throughout your day can help your body regulate sleep.

One food growing in popularity is tart cherry juice, made from sour or Montmorency cherries. Tart cherry juice has been shown to help fight inflammation, reduce muscle soreness, boost your immune system as well as promote better sleep. Melatonin and tryptophan found in tart cherry juice produce beneficial sleep effects.

Our internal body clock is regulated by the hormone melatonin, which is produced in your brain. Melatonin is in a number of foods: pistachios, walnuts, tart cherries, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, bell peppers and corn.

Tryptophan is an essential dietary amino acid the body uses to produce serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate sleep, and melatonin. It is in a variety of foods: poultry, fatty fish, eggs, dairy, seeds and legumes.

“A balanced diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein is the common thread that can help you get a better night’s sleep,” said Cavanaugh. “Look for ways to replace highly processed foods with whole foods to make sure you are giving your body what it needs.”

Thinking about adding tart cherry juice to your diet? Do not add sugar to reduce the tartness. Consider tart cherry extract capsules as a pill supplement if drinking it is difficult.

Bonnie Cavanaugh is a licensed dietitian with the Samaritan Weight Loss Management Institute and can be reached at 541-768-4280.

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