3 Nutrients Linked to Better Sleep

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the U.S. seems to have become a nation obsessed with pills. If something doesn’t work right, no worries, there’s a pill for that.

If you ask me, prescriptions, especially those with severe and dangerous side effects, should always be a last resort.

Here’s a look at three common sleep problems that have been linked to vitamin or mineral deficiencies:

1. Trouble getting to sleep: Magnesium plays a key role in the bodily function that regulates sleep. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and in fact, a 2006 analysis in the journal Medical Hypothesis suggests that such a deficiency may even be the cause of most major depression and mental health problems.

Bottom line: magnesium is an extremely important mineral. You’ll find it in dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and Brazil nuts, beans and lentils and some types of fish.

Click here for my favorite pumpkin seed recipe!

2. Trouble staying asleep: Potassium supplements may be helpful to those who have trouble sleeping through the night, according to a 1991 study in the journal Sleep. Of course, although potassium is available in pill form, I prefer to get most of my nutrients directly from their sources by eating a healthy diet.

When most people think about potassium, they think bananas. Bananas do contain a fair amount of this mineral (about 10% of the daily value), but they aren’t the best source. Beans, leafy greens and baked potatoes are the best sources. Avocados are a great source too — good news for the guacamole lovers!

Even Louie wants some leafy greens 🙂

3. Tired during the day: There is a strong correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and vitamin D deficiency. The sun’s rays are the best source for this vitamin, but not everyone can get the necessary sun exposure.

There are a few food sources of vitamin D, such as salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms, shrimp, tuna and fish oil, but this is one case where I would suggest supplementation. It’s not likely that you would get enough of the sunshine vitamin from food alone.

Head to the doctor and get tested before you start taking vitamin D. This is not a vitamin that you want to “guess-t-mate” when it comes to the quantity to supplement. And, for an instant dose of Vitamin D, try my 1 Minute Wellness Coach Salmon! Click here for the recipe.

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