Will a cup of warm milk at bedtime entice the Sandman your way?
Research suggests there’s a link between food and sleep, say the authors of a comprehensive review of the effects of diet on sleep length and quality, and milk is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid important to sleep.
Before I decided to take the bull by the horns and actually do something about my insomnia, I was convinced there was little TO do. I believed my fate was sealed from birth: on top of being short and stubborn, I was destined to be on shaky terms with the night. I could curse the gods, or I could settle down and make the best of it.
I get a serious case of the munchies when I’m feeling sleep-deprived. A few short nights is all it takes to propel me to the places where the good stuff is. I break into the chocolate, corn chips, cheese, and salted nuts with the zeal of a wild pig rooting for truffles, and I eat and eat.
Every list of famous insomniacs is full of artists and actors, as well as historical giants such as Napoleon, Churchill, and Lincoln. Every person on the list is of European descent.
But research on insomnia is now coming out of the East, suggesting that insomnia is a phenomenon in Asian cultures too.
I came of age when drinking caffeinated beverages was frowned on for people like me. Sleep experts exhorted people with insomnia to “stay away” from caffeine; a story in Working Woman stated that “the stimulant effect of coffee may last as long as 20 hours.”
Warnings like these made me feel guilty about indulging my java jones. Were my two cups of coffee, one at wake-up time and the other later in the morning, keeping me awake at night?
Most insomniacs I’ve met dismiss melatonin supplements as useless, and with good reason. If you follow directions and take the melatonin an hour before bedtime, it’s little more than a sugar pill.
But taking a melatonin supplement several hours before bedtime may give you better results.