A little sugar counters the effects of your orexin cells which affect our wakefulness. Try a banana before bed—it will give you just enough sugar to calm your orexin cells, plus magnesium and potassium to help to relax your muscles.

Passion fruit Tea

An Australian study  found that when people drank a cup of passion fruit tea, they slept more soundly. Researchers believe chemicals called Harman alkaloids (high levels of which are unique to the passion fruit flower)act on your nervous system to make you sleepy.


While L-tryptophan, the amino acid that supposedly makes you crash after Thanksgiving dinner, does make you sleepy, there are better sources than turkey. Sesame seeds contain 120 mg and hummus has usually about 600 mg of L-tryptophan.


L-tryprophan works best when combined with carbs. Carbs trigger your body to secrete insulin, which uses up other amino acids in your bloodstream first, leaving more L-tryptophan to sedate.  Carbs that raise your blood sugar levels fast are best, since slow-acting carbs don’t produce the same kind of insulin response. Go for a healthy handful of dates (they’re high in carbs  and have a fair amount of L-tryptophan). Fruit and air-popped popcorn are other healthy fast-acting carbohydrates.

Chinese Food

GABA (gamma-Amino butyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your body. Laymen terms – it’s your brain’s brakes to calm the party down. It plays a role in regulating the excitability of neurons throughout your nervous system. The only problem, it’s not found in food, so you can’t really eat GABA-rich products. Instead, you can eat foods high in glutamic acid—a precursor to GABA that turns into the neurotransmitter in your body. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the salt of glutamic acid, and it’s usually added to Chinese food.


Recent research found that drinking an ounce of cherry juice twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) for a week helped people sleep an extra 25 minutes. Why? It’s laced with L-tryptophan, which can convert into serotonin, and eventually melatonin (the compound that influences your sleep cycle). Increase the melatonin circulating in your body, and you’ll increase the chances of a good night’s sleep. Try an ounce of juice or a cup of cherries before bed. Since there are no foods high in melatonin, you want to look for foods that can produce it. A few to keep in mind: milk, yogurt, oats, eggs, and peanuts.


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By Amber Luebke and Bree McLain, owners of Lotus Salon in Stoughton, WI, have over 35 years combined experience specializing in hair color, accenting your best features and addressing your specific needs. Google+
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