Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Top 10 Foods for a Good Night's Sleep

Taken from Top 10 Foods ... Yahoo! Food

What is the secret to getting a
solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two
of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds,
and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones - serotonin and melatonin
- Yawning They're
practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing
melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Chamomile tea.
The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild
sedating effect - it's the perfect natural antidote for restless

Warm milk. It's not a myth. Milk
has some tryptophan - an amino acid that has a sedative - like effect -
and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there's the
psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax,
everything's fine."

Honey. Drizzle a little in
your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little
glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered
neurotransmitter that's linked to alertness.

A small baked spud won't overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away
acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the
soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.

Oats are a rich source of sleep - inviting melatonin, and a small bowl
of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy - plus if you've
got the munchies, it's filling too.

Almonds. A
handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they
contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling
2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal.
They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

Whole-wheat bread.
A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which
helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it's converted to serotonin
and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."

It's the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those
Thanksgiving naps. But that's actually modern folklore. Tryptophan
works when your stomach's basically empty, not overstuffed, and when
there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice
or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you've got one of the
best sleep inducers in your kitchen.

What if none of these
foods help get your Check out your sleep habits with this
quick RealAge test to find out what?s keeping you up at night.

For an extra treat, here's the ultimate sleep-inducing snack...

Lullaby Muffins

Makes 12 low-fat muffins

Between the bananas, the whole wheat, and the honeyed touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.

· 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1 tablespoon baking powder

· 2 large, very ripe bananas

· 1/3 cup applesauce

· 1/4 cup honey

· 1/2 cup milk or soymilk

oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it's
whole-wheat pastry flour or you'll produce golf balls, not muffins),
salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the
applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into
the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins
with paper muffin cups, pour in batter, and bake 30 minutes or until
tops are lightly brown and slightly springy.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrates; 10g sugars; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium

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