Relaxation Tips: food and beverage

Are you tossing and turning at night thinking of all the things you have to do before the holidays arrive? Here are some tips...

December 11, 2013

Are you tossing and turning at night thinking of all the things you have to do before the holidays arrive? Well there are some specific relaxation supplements and foods out on the store shelves to choose from. SupermarketGuru wanted to give you an overview of what’s available.

Relaxation drinks or "anti-energy drinks,” are drinks containing a blend of many herbs, supplements, botanicals and even amino acids (protein building blocks) that have been previously used individually for calming. Relaxation drinks are a first attempt to blend these ingredients and then both package and market these drinks as "on-the-go" stress solutions, according to DoctorOz.com.

According to DoctorOz.com, the five most common ingredients are valerian root, theanine, GABA, 5HTP, and melatonin. Each of these has been used in anxiety management and some are even used to aid sleep. Valerian root, for example, is an herb that has been used to correct insomnia. It also reduces nervousness and anxiety. Theanine, is found naturally in black and green tea, and helps produce relaxing brain waves. GABA is a neurotransmitter and increases tranquility. Melatonin has been widely used to help patients fall asleep and improve REM sleep.

Many people turn to alcohol as their go to “relaxation” beverage, but alcohol may be good at relaxing us and putting us to sleep, but it makes our sleep more restless. A few hours after ingestion, alcohol becomes a substance that can act as a stimulant, so 3-5 hours after falling asleep, you may be wide awake, tired, and unable to fall asleep.

Tips to stay calm and sleep well:

Herbal infusions. These are really not teas, since they have no tea leaves, but they are called infusions. Chamomile and valerian (as mentioned above) are commonly used to help with sleep and may help because of their relaxing and calming qualities. You need to be careful, since some plants are stimulating rather than relaxing, and people's bodies react to different plants in different ways, but in general, herbal "teas" are probably okay at night. 

Other helpful meals and snacks before bed include, pasta with parmesan cheese, scrambled eggs and cheese, tofu stir-fry, hummus with whole wheat bread or crackers, tuna salad sandwich, chili with beans but not spicy! Make sure you don’t eat too late and keep the meals before bed light, control the portions.

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