Sleepy Time Nutrients

sleepBio-rhythms are critical to our routines from sleeping, awaking, working, and hunger. All are energy related, therefore it stands to reason that both nutrient and quality caloric intake may contribute to ones ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consider your dietary intake before taking sleep medication; by making a few nutritional and routine changes you may find that you are able to take control of your night’s rest.

Relax, let go of your day.  32% of the population actually meet the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) of magnesium. Without it the body is unable regulate sleep, its deficiency leads to asthma, depression, diabetes, insomnia, and osteoporosis. It can reduce the severity of symptoms related to: fibromyalgia, migraines, heart attack, premenstrual syndrome, stroke. “Magnesium is required for the active transport of ions like potassium and calcium across cell membranes. Through its role in ion transport systems, magnesium affects the conduction of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm”, stated by the Micronutrient Information Center at Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

By including a variety of foods it easy to obtain the necessary amounts of magnesium needed for one to fall asleep.
Consume: dark leafy greens (spinach 1 cup raw 24 mg vs. 1 cup cooked 157 mg), pumpkin or sesame seeds (1 oz 150 mg), brazil nuts (1 oz/28 g 125 mg), almonds (1 oz/28g 93 mg), avocado (1 chopped 58mg), beans/lentils (1 cup cooked 148 mg), Mackerel fish (3 oz/85g 82mg).

Zinc Inhibits Magnesium. While it stands to reason that certain medications can interfere with proper magnesium absorption (discuss with Doctor), a study conducted on men, and another study on adolescent boys showed that the mineral zinc decreases the body’s absorption of magnesium. However increased amounts of protein (3 ozs/90g) promote magnesium absorption.

The body needs zinc for cell/energy metabolism, growth, development, cell signaling systems, immune system, neurological development, reproduction. Found in all body tissues zinc is important for enzyme and hormone function, vision, taste, smell, and in wound-healing.

Since both nutrients are critical to the life cycle, newer DRI standards suggest that amounts of magnesium should be increased to the following: Men DRI 420 mg/day and Women 320 mg/day. (old DRI: M 300 mg and W 270 mg)

Depletion of zinc & magnesium can come from consuming high amounts of coffee and tea.

Stay Asleep with potassium.  Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes fluid balance within the body, ridding excess sodium, aiding in cellular growth, and muscle contractions. It is found in most fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin C making it readily available and can be included at almost every meal.
Eat: grapefruit, berries, oranges, bananas, kiwi, avocado, melon papaya, corn, and potato.
Men and Women (DRI) 4,700 mg/day.

Wake up Rested.  Include foods with Vitamin B6 and the protein Tryptophan. Vitamin B6 helps create serotonin from the protein Tryptophan. Serotonin is neurotransmitter that is linked with happiness.  In simplified terms, a Neurotransmitter (serotonin for example), is like the super-autostrada of information in your brain that allows different parts to talk to each other. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin while one sleeps.
At dinner time find health and comfort by including variety of foods: eggs, oats, bananas, poultry, meat, whole grain pasta, fennel or sunflower seeds, figs, fish, peanuts, milk, cottage cheese, and 1 ounce chocolate.
Men and Women Vitamin B6 DRI 400 mcg/day
Men and Women Tryptophan DRI 67 mg

Exercise is equally important to de-stress the body, provide oxygen to the muscles, excite, create neurons, and promote relaxation. 30-60 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week will keep your body and brain energized and strengthened.

Foods that should be avoided are: fried, fatty in taste, salty, sugary, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.

A sample menu has been put together to present an idea of what your dietary intake should look like in order to stabilize your bio-rythym and have a more restful night.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Suggested Menu to Promote a Rested Body
Wheat Toast
Fruit of choice: orange, banana, kiwi, melon

1 ounce pumpkin seeds

Bean or Lentil soup
Sandwich: Turkey, Avocado, lettuce, cheese
Water or tea


Poultry, Meat, or Fish 4 ounces
Pasta, rice, or potato
Dark leafy green salad
Cottage Cheese
Fruit of choice
1 ounce Brazil Nuts
Glass of Wine, Water or Milk


+Homocysteine Levels and Vitamin Deficencies

The amount of homocysteine in the blood is monitored by three vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B12 and B6.  Vitamin B 12 and how it works with the degeneration of the protein “cysteine” is intensely studied, as are the negative effects of hyperhomocysteinemia (too much homocysteine) and Vitamin B12 Deficiency.  The body needs antioxidants (Folate that comes from fruits and vegetables) to combat homocysteine and it’s positively charged oxygen.  If the O+ does not find an anti-oxidant the eventual negative effects are extensive on LDL cholesterol (leading to build up of plaque in the arteries), development of dementia, tingling feeling in the arms and legs and Depression. The contributing negative factors should be removed and then  new dietary sources introduced to reduce inflammation and restoration of a healthy body. 

LDL is an unhealthy cholesterol only when it becomes oxidized.  Oxidation of LDL is due to free radicalsfloating around in our body which are  O+ broken off from degenerating protein called homocysteine. The positively charged oxygen then attaches itself to LDL cholesterol and plaque begins to form in your arteries and veins. According to studies at the Linus Pauling Institute, “Although increased intake of folic acid and vitamin B12has been found to decrease homocysteine levels, it is not presently known whether increasing intake of these vitamins will translate to reductions in risk for cardiovascular diseases. However, several randomized placebo-controlled trials are presently being conducted to determine whether homocysteine lowering through folic acid and other B vitamin supplementation reduces the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.”  
Additional studies look at vitamin supplements,which do not seem to contribute to the reduction of the negative effects of homocysteine as determined by in an International randomized trial Dr. Allen Brett MD. He concludes, “What remains unclear is whether homocysteine is merely a marker for other atherogenic factors or whether adverse effects of the vitamins themselves offset the theoretical benefits of homocysteine-lowering. Finally, it remains possible that B vitamins confer cardiovascular benefit in the unusual patient with extremely elevated homocysteine levels.”
Vitamin B 12 is released from it’s food origin as the food enters our stomach and the vitamin is released by stomach acid.  Mal-absorption of Vitamin B12 has been associated with insufficient stomach acid present to release the vitamin from it’s food origin,or  contrastly atrophic gastritis could contribute as too much stomach acid is present.  Alcohol can block the absorption as can being on a vegetarian diet, as B12 is present in animal dietary source.  Those diagnosed with AIDS will also experience discomfort as these individuals will not have Vitamin B12 available.  Lastly, interference from stomach acid pharmacueticals can also contribute to improper release and absorption of Vitamin B12.
Hence forth, anti-oxidants from fruit and vegetables need to be a part of ones daily intake, to clean up the free radicals and meat must be included in ones diet so that our brain stays focused and strong. Consider the following suggestions as part of your daily Meal Plan.
Put everyone on Oatmeal in your home. Preferably Quaker Oats and add honey, cinnamon, sugar or slices of fruits. 
Reduce saturated fats.
red meats only 2-3 times a week 112 g per serving/day
cheese only 28 g/day
replace butter with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Skim or 1% milk 1/day NO CREAM!
Omega 3,6 and Red wine which are an anti-flammatory.
 Nuts, green tea, fruits and vegetables (wine) have antioxidants that look for O+ released from Homocysteine
This new diet should reduce tingling and restore energy. 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (with vinegar) for salads and cooking
Fish 4 times a week (omega 3,6)
Walnuts 28 g/day (omega 3,6)
Flaxseed 1 tbsp/day (omega 3,6)
Red wine 1 glass/day
cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries 1/4-1/2 cup ea day (choose 1)
pomegranate fruit or juice.
Any citrus fruit. (high in potassium and will work with the K Na channels in all organs to flush out excess Na, metals and toxins.) 4 each day
Vegetables 6 per/day
Breads:multigrain breads Panera or Aunt Millies 5 or 7 grain american sandwich bread, Quacker Oatmeal, Whole-grain Pasta (Barilla, yellow box)
By Kimberly Crocker
Literature Research