Over the last few weeks, we have shared many sleep remedies and hacks with you — the rule of 10-3-2-1-0, the best direction to sleep, the 4-7-8 breathing trick, and even the best sleeping position to reduce heartburn. In keeping with the same, we are back with yet another trick that will ensure you sleep like a baby tonight. And much like the other tips, we have shared with you, this one is easy, simple, and delicious, too! So, all set to find out what we have for you today?
You may have been advised to stay away from caffeine, which is known to rob one of their sleep. But have you heard about the wonderful benefits of magnesium when it comes to catching some shuteye? If you are nodding no, worry not — that’s exactly what we are here to tell you about. “Sleep disorders, which are prevalent among most people in the general population, can include anything from irregular sleep patterns to sleep apnea, which can become a medical emergency, especially when it is not treated on time. Keeping this in mind, sleep disorders need to be treated appropriately, and, in this regard, food items that contain magnesium can help as they aid in stimulating natural sleep,” Dr Sanjay Shah, senior consultant physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund told indianexpress.com.
From regulating blood pressure and sugar levels to relaxing the muscles, magnesium — found in plant and animal foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains — helps improve sleep quality too, some studies suggest.
A 2022-National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) studied previous research to reveal that an association between magnesium status and sleep quality (daytime falling asleep, sleepiness, snoring, and sleep duration) according to the observational studies was possible, even while randomised clinical trials showed an uncertain association between magnesium supplementation and sleep disorders. The study, hence, suggested that the association between dietary magnesium and sleep patterns “needs well-designed randomised clinical trials with a larger sample size and longer follow-up time (more than 12 weeks) to further clarify the relationship”.
Another NCBI study, from 2012, also suggested that supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol, in elderly people.
Given such studies, it is essential to understand more about the relationship between magnesium and sleep quality. “Magnesium is vital in providing good-quality rest by stimulating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Also, magnesium produces various hormones (melatonin) and neuroreceptors like GABA, which help induce natural and undisturbed sleep,” Dr Shah elucidated.
Eshanka Wahi, a Dubai and Delhi-based culinary nutrition coach, and the owner of ‘Eat Clean with Eshanka told indianexpress.com earlier that one should avoid the intake of processed fats and caffeine, as they “deplete our magnesium stores”. “Magnesium can easily be found in leafy greens, legumes, nuts, milk, and yoghurt. If you suffer from restlessness at night, or cannot sleep easily, have magnesium supplements an hour before sleeping for a couple of times a week,” she suggested.
As such, Dr Michael J Breus, a clinical psychologist, famously known as the ‘sleep doctor’, has often stressed that magnesium helps promote sleep, and his number one hack for the same is to have a banana tea, simply made by boiling banana with its peel intact in water, his website notes.
Here’s how to make banana tea
*Cut a washed banana in half and place it (peel on) into a cup of boiling water.
*”The peel has three times the magnesium as the fruit itself, according to Dr Breus.
“After three to five minutes, the water will be ‘loaded’ with magnesium, which helps calm you down,” he noted. The tea can also be had with honey which helps regulate blood sugar throughout the night.
However, according to food therapist Dr Ria Banerjee Ankola, one shouldn’t ideally have “banana and honey before sleeping”. “The metabolism is at its slowest rate that time. This combination can also trigger your insulin levels which can lead you to wake up with hunger pangs in the middle of the night or early morning,” said Dr Ria.
Here are some other tips that can help, as shared byDr Ria Ankola
*Stay active all day so the body naturally gets tired.
*Eat your meals around sunset, or 3-4 hours before you sleep so that you have digested the food well before bed time.
*Avoid caffeine six hours before sleeping.
*In addition, try to avoid too much caffeine in the day, which includes green tea as well.
*Stay away from distractions like phone and tv at night.
*Ashwagandha helps a lot.
*Maintain electrolyte balance in the body by staying well hydrated with water, fruits and vegetables.
*Chamomile tea at bedtime helps.