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conscious eating


SLEEP WELL


10 Foods Help Us Relax and Rest by Judith Fertig G


etting enough sleep—or not—has a trickle-down effect. A study in the Journal of Obesity shows that good


quality shut-eye helps us reduce stress, lose weight and function better. Research also shows that most Ameri-


cans would be healthier, happier and safer going about their daily activities if they slept 60 to 90 more minutes each night, according to the American Psychological Association. A consistent sleep routine helps enable a good night’s rest, with activities like going to bed at the same time whenever possible; shutting down the Internet, email and text messaging at least an hour before bedtime; and limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol. Another best practice is eating foods that


help us relax, fall and stay asleep. Four primary sleep-promoting vitamins and minerals naturally found in foods are tryptophan, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B6


. Some


of these help the body produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating the body’s sleep/wake patterns called circadian


30 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


rhythms. Others enhance serotonin, which carries nerve signals and relays messages in the brain related to mood and sleep. Some foods are naturally packed with


these essential vitamins and minerals, and eating certain foods at certain times can help us tip the scale towards a successful night of restful sleep.


and folate, kiwi can help us sleep longer. In a study at Taipei Medical University, in Taiwan, researchers had participants eat two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime for four weeks. Total sleep time improved by 13.4 percent.


1 nal, researchers surveyed 2


Soy. In a Japanese study published in theNutrition Jour-


Kiwi. Full of vitamins C and E, serotonin


1,076 participants between 20 and 78 on how oſten they ate soy products, which are rich in sleep-enhancing isoflavones. Tose that ate the most soy foods enjoyed deeper, more sustained sleep. Researchers concluded that soy’s isoflavones help regulate the sleep/ wake cycle.


ester, in New York, found that older adults drinking two, eight-ounce servings of tart red cherry juice daily, one in the morning and one at night for two weeks, enjoyed moderate sleep improvement, comparable to taking the herb valerian and melatonin.


3 and tuna help boost 4


Fish. Salm- on, halibut, mackerel


Tart cherry juice. A study by the University of Roch-


RIGHT TO


EAT


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Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com


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