By STEPHANIE OSFIELD
Do you ever feel like going to bed is a little like going to battle? With your brain?
Some days no matter how great it feels when I finally slip between the sheets, I end up wrestling them. My struggle? To locate the ‘off’ button. For my mind.
You see, sleep and me we have a bit of history. Our love/hate relationship goes way back. Every night I want so much to follow that soothing sandman all the way to the land of nod, but often my head just won’t. Co-operate.
So when it hits that pillow instead of going into slow-mo, I experience a full throttle alertness spike. Hello thoughts of my ‘to do’ list, late bills, unsigned school notes and the chicken I didn’t take out of the freezer! Bye-bye any dreamy drowsy hopes of dropping off. This is the complete opposite of my partner who fast-tracks to sleep the moment he falls into bed. Envy doesn’t even come close to what I feel when he pulls that off. I just want to whack him. With my pillow. Hard. Until he’s wide awake. Like me. Instead, I tough it out. Solo.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Sealy Posturepedic Matressess. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
But in my daily dance with sleep I know I’m not alone. Over the years I’ve had so many conversations with women of all ages about shuteye and the lack of it that I’ve thought about starting a TV talk show. Called ‘Sleep in the City’. With hard-hitting questions like: Did you get some tonight? Was it gooooooood? Looooooong? Deeeeeep? Meanwhile, I’ve tried plenty of sleep boosters and met with only minimal success. First up I tried sleeping pills, but the next day they gave me an unflattering zombie chic. And it took hours before my mouth could reconnect fully to my brain. Then I tried special herbal teas. Because friends swear by them. I drank. I waited. Drank more. Dashed to the loo in the wee hours. Dashed again. It was like doing night aerobics! But faster sleep? No go.
In recent years I’ve also tried a spritz of lavender on my pillow (think serial sneezing). Ear plugs? Made me feel like I was doing an underwater cameo in SpongeBob Square Pants. Eye mask? Always migrated to my nose or mouth. Or both. I even bought a new mattress which is super-comfy. My body feels great now but my mind is still racing. Feeling defeated, I’d kind of resigned myself. To waking up every day like the Titanic being raised.
But recently I’ve discovered a whole new approach to insomnia based on diet- and specifically, foods that help you sleep. Because one of my kids has had a few issues around nodding off and staying asleep. It made me do more super sleuthing to find if any foods might help. The news? All good. There are numerous foods that help you sleep by promoting the hormones that make you sleepy. And they’re not Bear Grylls style suggestions like sipping on elephant dung or snacking on a crunchy scorpion! In fact, they all qualify big in the yummy stakes. Here’s the foods that help you sleep which you need to pop in your shopping trolley:
1. Cherry Juice
Tasty and easy to serve – this is my top pic. A study at Northumbria University found that cherry juice boosts levels of melatonin, which is like the ‘Big Kahuna’ of sleep hormones. It helps set your body clock to light and dark and lowers your temperature in readiness for sleep. The study showed that cherry juice encouraged faster sleep onset and improved sleep quality in insomniacs as well as boosting their sleep duration (the cherry drinkers slept almost 40 minutes longer). I could sure use me some of that!