Revivelife Clinic I Naturopath in Ottawa

Top 5 Foods for Sleep

Sleep is nourishing to your body and your mind. It is also essential to living a healthy life. One third of our lives is spent sleeping. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 40 percent of American adults get six hours or less per night. This even includes children. Research from the 2014 Sleep in America Poll found that 58 percent of teens average only seven hours of sleep or less.2 On average people get one to two hours of sleep less each night, compared to 60 years ago. 3

How much sleep is enough? Everyone needs a different amount of sleep with the average being between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to feel refreshed.Getting less than five hours of sleep may double your risk of heart disease and or stroke. Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression.5

Sleep is a beautiful thing. Your day time hormones and night time hormones are managed by light. Naturally when your retina is exposed to sunlight around 6 am it creates a cascade of hormone reactions that promote the release of your day time hormones. Then at 6 pm when the natural sunlight begins to decrease your night time hormones begin to elevate getting you ready for a restful sleep. In our modern technology driven world you are exposed to light at various times of the day. Blue light is the most stimulating of the UV rays and is a great deal of what is emitted in electronic devices. For every additional hour of light exposure you get especially with electronics your release of melatonin (your hormone that controls your sleep cycles) is also delayed by one hour. Thus I recommend installing to reduce blue light from electronics on all your IT devices for optimal sleep.

What are some simple solutions? For those of you who are counting sheep instead of getting your sleep here is my Sleepy Time Smoothie Bowl with the top 5 foods for you to get your beauty rest!

Video: Counting Sheep & Not Getting Your Sleep? 



Traditionally, chamomile tea and essential oil aromatherapy have been used to treat insomnia and as a mild-tranquillizer relaxing the nervous system. The sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. 6


Bananas are a high source of tryptophan which converts to your happy & sleep hormone serotonin. This conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is called the food-mood connection. Bananas are also rich in potassium and magnesium additional minerals to support great sleep.


Carbs help to increase the absorption of tryptophan through the blood brain barrier (BBB) which increases the conversion to serotonin. When you eat carbs the elevation of insulin helps promote the absorption of amino acids into the heart, muscles and organs leaving behind a greater pool of tryptophan to be taken up by the BBB.


Nuts and seeds including almonds are rich in magnesium which helps to calm the mind & relax muscles. Magnesium helps you fall asleep, improves the quality and the duration of your night time rest. As a bonus for kids it can also help with growing pains.


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that controls your circadian (sleep/wake) cycles as well as the regulation of other hormones including those associated with menstruation and menopause. Melatonin reduces as we age and is linked with older people needed to go to bed earlier and wake earlier. Several factors can throw off the body’s natural melatonin production. Researchers have found pineapples, bananas, and oranges were able to increase melatonin presence significantly. Pineapples increased the presence of aMT6s (6-sulfatoxymelatonin) (a marker of circulating melatonin in the body) over 266% while bananas increased levels by 180%. Oranges were able to increase melatonin by approximately 47%.7

Enjoy this recipe one hour before bed !


Dr. Joël, ND, Inspiring Health Naturally


  1. Gallup Poll
  2. Sleep in America Poll 2014
  3.  BBC News May 12, 2014
  4. National Sleep Foundation. Myths – And Facts – About Sleep. Retrieved January 8, 2008, from
  5. Kinnon, S. R. (2006). Get Enough Sleep—or Else! Readers Digest, May. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from
  6. Avallone R, Zanoli P, Corsi L, Cannazza G, Baraldi M. Benzodiazepine compounds and GABA in flower heads of matricaria chamomilla. Phytotherapy Res. 1996;10:177–179.
  7. Johns NP1Johns JPorasuphatana SPlaimee PSae-Teaw M., Dietary intake of melatonin from tropical fruit altered urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in healthy volunteers., J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jan 30;61(4):913-9. doi: 10.1021/jf300359a. Epub 2013 Jan 17.PMID: 23252791; DOI: 10.1021/jf300359a

Dr. Joël, N.D., Inspiring Health Naturally

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