Thursday, January 5, 2017

Food for thought and, better sleep.

If I would ask you if you ever had difficulty going to sleep, most of you, I would imagine, would put the hand up – me included. However, I have learnt a lot about overcoming this problem. I stop snacking one hour or more before bedtime; reading for half an hour or more after switching the computer off or watching TV and, trying to go to bed at or near the same time.

Scientists have been cautioning against using light-emitting devices before bed. Why? The light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light - and blue light  affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.

Changes in sleep  patterns can in turn shift the body’s natural clock, known as its circadian rhythm. Recent studies have shown that shifts in this clock can have devastating health effects because it controls not only our wakefulness but also individual clocks that dictate function in the body’s organs. In other words, stressors that affect our circadian clocks, such as blue-light exposure, can have much more serious consequences than originally thought.

This is further supported by findings that many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep. Other rejuvenating aspects of sleep are specific to the brain and cognitive function. I am lucky that I can cope with less than the “prescribed” 8 hours sleep without losing my energy or mental capacity.

Diana Vilibert  asks: Are you tossing and turning in bed? Then the answer to - or the cause of - your sleep issues may be in your fridge. Read on to find which foods to consider adding to your diet for a more peaceful slumber…and which to stay away from before bed.

I take this opportunity and wish all my readers a happy New Year and I hope this will help you to get a good sleep like the Koala above. Werner
5 Surprising Foods for Better Sleep (And 4 to Avoid)  The best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed.

1. Kiwi fruit.
High antioxidant and serotonin levels could be the secret behind the kiwi’s sleep superpowers - in one study, eating two kiwis an hour before bed for four weeks was correlated with falling asleep 35 percent faster, a 28 percent dip in waking during the night, and better sleep quality.

2. Cherry Juice.
Drinking an eight-ounce glass of tart cherry juice twice a day can get you an average of 84 extra minutes of sleep each night, according to research from Louisiana State University. It’s a natural source of both melatonin - a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles - and tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to aid sleep.

3. Chickpeas.
A cup of chickpeas has almost a full day’s recommended supply of vitamin B6, which helps the body produce melatonin and serotonin. You’ll also find it in tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey.

4. Jasmine Rice.
If you’re grabbing Thai take-out, don’t be shy about loading up on jasmine rice—eating it four hours before bed correlated with falling asleep faster in a 2007 study.

5. Leafy Greens.
Salad may not be the first thing you reach for when you want a good night’s sleep, but the magnesium content found in spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens make them a great option for a peaceful snooze—insomnia is one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. In elderly people, magnesium supplements improved sleep time and the amount of time it took to fall asleep.

1. Hot Sauce
Wings for dinner? Make ‘em mild - spicy foods raise your body temperature, which can lead to more brain activity come bedtime. Not only can that lead to poor sleep, there’s also some speculation that a spicy meal before bedtime can contribute to strange dreams or nightmares.

2. Fast Food.
Would you like fries and insomnia with that? Foods high in fat stimulate acid production in the stomach, which can lead to night-time heartburn. Of those who report having night-time heartburn, 75 percent said the symptoms impacted their sleep.

3. Alcohol.
You may fall asleep faster and more easily after happy hour, but alcohol can actually disrupt your sleep throughout the course of the night, keeping you from entering the deeper stages of sleep and leaving you tired in the morning.

4. Coffee.
No surprise here—caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and though people’s sensitivity varies, it’s a good idea for most to skip it later in the day. Research has found that caffeine consumption even six hours before bed can disturb sleep, so avoid relying on coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated teas and sodas to get you through the afternoon slump. And watch out for surprising sources of caffeine, like dark chocolate and Excedrin. (This surprises me somewhat. My mother, if she couldn't go to sleep, drank a cup of coffee and then could sleep. - Werner) GREAT STORY, RIGHT? Share it with your friends. Source:

More interesting reading.

We tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But this is not the case; sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Exactly how this happens and why our bodies are programmed for such a long period of slumber is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists do understand some of sleep's critical functions, and the reasons we need it for optimal health and well-being.
One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory—a process called "consolidation." Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.
Healthy sleep is critical for everyone, since we all need to retain information and learn skills to thrive in life. But this is likely part of the reason children—who acquire language, social, and motor skills at a breathtaking pace throughout their development—need more sleep than adults. While adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10.During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need a heavy dose of slumber for optimal development and alertness.
Unfortunately, a person can't just accumulate sleep deprivation and then log many hours of sleep to make up for it (although paying back "sleep debt" is always a good idea if you're sleep deprived). The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow all of us, regardless of our age, to meet our sleep needs every night, and keep on top of life's challenges every day. source:
Why do we need sleep?
My thought for today.Werner
Sleep is the best meditation. Dalai Lama


Peter said...

Hi Werner, interesting article - ta. We use only decaf coffee beans and prefer the taste to other beans we’ve had in the past.

Emma said...

Thank you, Werner, for this very interesting piece; it is just “what the doctor ordered”. I have problems going to sleep. I also read about bleach and Round-Up from your labels, which is also very interesting and, Round-Up is certainly a worry – you are a treasure trove full with information and interesting stories Werner. You should write a book.

Sonja Hardy said...

Here's another interesting sleep fact - if you can't recall your dreams, it's possible you have a deficiency in vitamin B6. Here's a study about it: Effects of pyridoxine on dreaming: a preliminary study:

Barb said...

A very well written subject, Werner. Sometimes we need reminders like this 'to get back on track.' Thank you so much for sharing these commonsense words of wisdom.