In a recent article appearing in the Washington Post by Roberto A. Ferdman, Reporter for Wonkblog, the results of a study by Jawbone (maker of a fitness tracker) concluded that 21 of the major U.S. cities as well as international cities got less than seven hours of sleep on average per night.
Some cities of note: Las Vegas, with the shortest U.S. recorded hours at slightly over six and a half. Tokyo beats Vegas with an average of just under five hours forty-five minutes. If it were a sleeping contest, the winner would be Melbourne Australia with approximately seven hours of sleep.
All of us suffer from insomia once in a while. Sometimes we have difficulty falling asleep, maybe other times it's the inability to stay asleep. Based on a report in EatingWell, over 50 million American's don't get enough sleep and the health implications are many.
- Sleep helps us concentrate.
- Sleep keeps us in a better mood.
- Sleep helps ward off diseases, viruses, keeping our immune systems strong, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- To stay fit and trim, get plenty of sleep.
- To keep skin fresh and young looking, sleep is important.
In order to give the body the best opportunity to get a good nights rest, it's important to maintain a healthy diet.
- Vitamin B6 is necessary for the body to make melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which will promote sleep as light fades later in the day. Food rich in Vitamin B6 are: Fish, Bananas, Chickpeas (think Hummus!), and Fortified Cereals with low sugar.
- Healthy, low fat food which is high on the glycemic index rather than low on the GI scale helps the body fall asleep faster. It is suspected that the greater amount of insulin in high GI foods increase the ratio of tryptophan relative to other amino acids in the blood and reaches the brain quicker. *According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A good mealtime food high on the glycemic index but low in fat: Jasmine Rice.
- Calcium is necessary for the ability to fall asleep. Those calcium depraved bodies may find it difficult to go to sleep so have a glass of milk, a cup of yogurt before going to bed. Try the recipe below with Kale (a calcium rich vegetable) and hummus (chickpeas are high in Vitamin B6) for dinner so when it's time for bed, sleep comes when the eyes close.
- Don't like milk or dairy products? Try Tart Cherry Juice which is high in melatonin and will help reduce insomnia.
- Another essential mineral is Magnesium which helps us stay asleep. Whole grains are rich in this nutrient.
Warm Kale with Hummus and Pistachios
Serves 4 – 6
1 lb. kale – washed and thick stems discarded.Torn into bite sized pieces.
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 green onions, sliced
12 oz fresh mushrooms, peeled and cleaned then sliced in half
juice from one fresh lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 TBS sesame seeds
2 TBS hummus
1 TBS maple syrup (you can also use agave or honey)
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
1 TBS dark raisins (optional)
1 TBS golden raisins (optional)
Heat the 3 TBS oil over medium heat in a large, high sided pot (large enough to hold kale as it cooks down).
Add the green onions and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the kale and lemon juice. Stir and continue to cook about 5- 6 minutes or just until it has relaxed and cooked down a bit. Add salt and stir. Remove to a colander and drain.
Mix the apple cider vinegar,sesame seeds, hummus, maple syrup in a small bowl.
Place the cooked kale mix into a serving bowl and toss with the hummus dressing. Sprinkle with pistachios and raisins when ready to serve.