damp_autumn_days_make_us_sleepyIf you start to feel a bit of an energy lag this time of year, you’re not alone.   In fact, it’s very common to feel like you need more rest as the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler and even a bit damp.  The reason for this feeling is pretty simple actually – it’s because you do need more rest.

If you follow much of today’s health research, we are starting to see a great deal of trending around sleep as the next great health advantage.  Perhaps they assume that we’ve already got our nutrition in check (I try, I promise!) and our exercise routine in line (working on it, I swear!)?   In any case, if you read many of today’s health books, blog and magazine articles or general Internet health news, we are being told that there is no shame in needing sleep; rather that our bodies are sophisticated operating systems that know what they want and we should simply be more in tune with what that is.

Which brings us to the problem that a lot of folks seem to have: actually unwinding and getting to sleep.

Getting to sleep and staying asleepWhile the title of this article may have sounded a bit oddly worded at first, we have actually done quite a bit of research to bring you this “Sleepy Head Recipe.”  It’s a little beddy-bye snack meant to do just what the name says: give you the “sleepy head” part that gets you to sleep but also help you stay there and get to the good parts (the deep, restful parts, that is).

First off: when you were a kid, did anyone ever make you a nice warm cup of milk at bed time that was supposed to help you sleep?   Of course they did and the reasoning behind it is maybe not as rock solid as we’ve all been led to believe but still totally worth noting.

Milk actually contains trace amounts of the amino acid tryptophan.  Tryptophan is shown to help induce early phase sleep (the getting to sleep part).  This is actually outstanding news because the “getting to sleep” part seems to be the part that so many people struggle with.   Inconveniently, tryptophan may actually be slightly disruptive to the quality of the deeper sleep phases.

To support the deeper (e.g. REM) phases of sleep, this doctor recommends combining an ample dose of carbohydrate together with a small amount of protein (which also happens to contain tryptophan) as the ideal bedtime snack.  

(If you prefer not to drink cow’s milk, almond milk also contains trace amounts of tryptophan.)

So, with this information in hand and with a cuddly psychological attachment to a warm glass of milk at bed time, we’ve been testing the following bed time snack with very positive results:

sleepyhead_tea_latte_peanut_butter_toastSleepy Head Recipe

  • 1 latte made with whole or homogenized milk and SleepHead Vata Organic Tea
  • 1 piece of whole grain toast topped with 2 Tbsp of natural, no sugar-added peanut butter.

Don’t worry a bit if you don’t have a fancy latte maker – this recipe is just as effective if you simply infuse the tea into the milk.  I highly recommend not using any type of sweetener if you are looking to improve sleep, but that’s obviously your own call.  Enjoy the sweet essences of the citrusy notes in this tea: along with chamomile, it contains sweet orange and lemon.   Hopefully these flavours along with the lactose in the milk will satisfy your sweet tooth.

The doctor cited above is simply one of many sources we found that suggest a snack of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats will round off what it takes to support a night of restful, restorative sleep.

As with any health advice you find on the Internet, it is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you.   This snack has worked well and with no issues for a small group of friends who like to nerd out about health techniques, but you need to do what’s right for you.

Let us know if this was useful for you.  If not, what’s your personal best Sleepy Head Recipe?  Please share in the comments below.