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Healing Smoothies – Improved Sleep Quality

Healing Smoothies - Improved Sleep Quality
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health and one of the most important factors in maintaining optimum well being. Sadly many people in western countries do not get quality sleep and this has some major impacts on their health both in the short and long terms. Western lifestyles are often over stimulating and result in poor sleeping habits. Today’s article and Healing Smoothie Recepies are focused on improving sleep quality. I will talk about sleep, the 5 stages of sleep, 3 common sleep disorders, preventing sleep problems and of course food and recepies to aid in better sleep. So get comfortable and enjoy the read 🙂

Sleep

Sleep plays a huge role in a person’s health. maintaining a regular sleep schedule gives the body time to rest and rejuvenate. Cells grow, memory sharpens, wounds heal faster and muscles repair and strengthen when the body receives adequate sleep. While researchers make new discoveries the purpose of sleep everyday, the fact that every living animal sustains it’s own sleep cycle suggests that sleep is hugely important for all forms of life. While the amount of sleep needed differs between individuals, most adult humans function best on 7-8 hours of sleep.

What Happens When Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Pretty well everyone will experience and occasional bout of sleeplessness or insomnia. As long as sleeplessness does not occur more than three nights in a row, the worst you’ll experience is grouchiness or fatigue the following day. After three restless nights however, the body systems become compromised; mental agility slows, moods change and the immune system weakens. Getting a good night’s sleep is very important to proper bodily functioning and long term health.

5 Stages of Sleep – The Sleep Cycle

  1. Light Sleep 1 – Muscles begin to relax. A person drifts in and out and can be easily awakened
  2. Light Sleep 2 – Brain waves slow down then occasionally speed up in small bursts called “Sleep Spindles”; eye movement stops.
  3. Deep Sleep 1 – The brain waves continue to slow down, producing low level Delta waves; these waves are periodically interrupted with faster waves.
  4. Deep Sleep 2 – Delta waves dominate brain activity; eye movement and muscle activity are minimal.
  5. REM Sleep – Limbs become temporarily paralyzed, eye movement increases, breathing accelerates, sleepers start dreaming. (Sometimes dreaming may start in previous stages.)

The sleep cycle will repeat roughly four times in an 8 hour period of sleep.

Common Sleep Disorders

 

  • Chronic Insomnia – This is sleeplessness that occurs for most nights over a one month period of time. This affects nearly 10% of all Americans with similar numbers here in Australia. It often results from psychological conditions like depression and anxiety and physical conditions like asthma, arthritis or digestive disorders. Inadequate vitamin intake, excessive caffeine intake, alcohol, nicotine or narcotic drugs along with prescription drugs can all also inhibit sleep for extended periods of time.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) in a neurological disorder that prompts an uncontrollable urge to move one’s limbs. This urge is usually (but not always) accompanied by a sensation in the limbs,  whether itching, tingling or muscle tightness and causes limbs to kick, twitch and/or jerk involuntarily. Sensations can be mild to severe and usually start at night, when the body begins to relax for bed. Because it is so physically demanding, RLS often prevents the sufferer from falling asleep or wakes them while they are sleeping. This lack of sleep often results in poor performance, drowsiness and irritability during the day. If RLS prevents sleep for more than a month, symptoms of chronic insomnia may occur. Nutrient deficiency is often sited as a cause of RLS; specifically deficiencies in iron, magnesium or folate. It has also been linked to autoimmune disorders; diabetes and Parkinson’s disease among others.
  • Sleep Apnea – This condition inhibits normal breathing during sleep which results in oxygen deprivation and this causes sufferers to awaken suddenly, gasping for air. Sufferers may not remember waking up at any point during the night, but will experience symptoms of insomnia like sluggishness, lack of focus and moodiness. Depression may result as sufferers cannot identify the cause of these issues. Sleep apnea is associated with serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Sleep apnea can also greatly inhibit a person’s REM sleep, and in doing so, has been linked to an increased risk of developing extreme psychological disorders. Obesity increases a person’s risk of experiencing sleep apnea as excess fat inhibits the diaphragm from fully expanding.

Preventing Sleep Problems

 

Diet, nutrition and eating patterns have a large effect on sleep quality. Foods and drinks contain compounds that can either keep you up at night or help you sleep soundly. Meal time also plays a role in a person’s sleep cycle. As a general rule of thumb, stop eating at least two hours before going to bed and do not consume caffeine, smoke cigarettes or ingest any other stimulants after 2.00pm. The next section explains what foods aid with sleep and why.

Food Ingredients for Healing Smoothies for Better Sleep

These are the main base ingredients I use specifically for sleep improvement but there are other ingredients in the recepies that follow. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and try some combinations with other food that aid sleep too like cashews, bananas etc.

  • Dates, Cashews, Oats, Spirulina, Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds – All these foods contain an amino acids called Tryptophan. This amino acid releases the chemicals Melatonin and Serotonin in the brain. Both chemicals give the body a happy, drowsy feeling and play a large role in maintaining the sleep cycle.
  • Pumpkin Seeds, Swiss Chard, Spinach – These foods all contain high levels of magnesium. Magnesium is known to relax the muscles, strengthen the bones and encourage blood flow to all areas of the body. healthy muscles, bones and circulation can relax more readily at bedtime. Due to it’s role in muscle relaxation, magnesium is linked to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Increasing magnesium intake may help prevent instances of this condition.
  • Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens – These green foods are all excellent sources of Calcium. Calcium plays a large role in sustaining REM sleep. After observing an increase in calcium levels in the body during this sleep stage, experts have concluded that calcium helps the brain process Tryptophan to release Melatonin, a substance know to increase peaceful drowsiness.

Healing Smoothie Recepies – Improved Sleep

Sleepy Time

  1. 1/4 Cup Cooked Porridge (Oatmeal)
  2. 2 Dates
  3.  12 cashew, Raw
  4. 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  5. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Deep Sleeper

  1. 50% Spinach
  2. 1 Banana
  3. Sml handful of Raspberries
  4. Sml handful of Blueberries
  5. 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  6. 1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  7. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Green Dreams

  1. 50% Collard Greens
  2. 1/2 Avocado
  3. 1 Carrot, peeled.
  4. 1 Tomato
  5. 1 Lemon, peeled.
  6. 1 Tsp of Spirulina
  7. 1 Pinch of Sea Salt
  8. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Veggie Nap

  1. 50% Swiss Chard
  2. 1 Peeled Carrot
  3. 1 Celery Stalks, cut into pieces.
  4. 1 Tomato
  5. 1 Lemon, Peeled
  6. 2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  7. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Slumberland

  1. 50% Spinach
  2. 1 Banana
  3. 1/2 Cup Mixed berries
  4. 12 Cashews
  5. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Bedtime Bliss

  1. 50% Spinach
  2. 1 Cup Watermelon
  3. 1/4 cup of Pumpkin Seeds
  4. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Nighty Nightcap

  1. 1 Banana
  2. 1 Date
  3. 1 Fig
  4. 12 Cashews
  5. Top off to your blending devices fill line with coconut water and/or almond milk (or alternatives) and blend thoroughly and serve.

Great nutrition is important to all aspects of life and this includes sleep quality. These recepies are a great starting point to get your sleeping patterns back on track and I urge you to experiment with combinations to suit your palette.  Well I hope this assists you with improving your sleep patterns friends and remember, if problems persist, see you health care professional for further therapy or advice. Until next time, be well, naturally 🙂

Craig Hitchens – MST & Natural Health Specialist

 

Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of www.craighitchenstherapies.com is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.

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