How to sleep like a baby: the anti-insomnia checklist

How to sleep like a baby: The anti-insomnia checklist | Butternutrition.com
Insomnia is your worst nightmare. The ability to get sound, undisturbed, restful sleep is essential to cognitive function, cell renewal, hormonal balance, energy production, detoxification, and so much more! If your sleep suffers, life’s stressors seem to snowball. Insomnia creates a vicious cycle of exhaustion and fatigue; a sure sign your body is trying to get your attention!

So what causes insomnia?

Usually it’s the result of a lifestyle imbalance, particularly nutrition and stress. When our body gets low in nutrients and becomes inefficient at producing energy, we rely strongly on stress hormones (adrenaline & cortisol) to get us through the day. These hormones are built in mechanisms designed to help us handle short-term stressors, but when the diet leaves much to be desired, our body relies MORE on stress hormones to make up for the fuel deficit  “But in energy-deprived humans, increases of adrenalin oppose the hibernation reaction, alter energy production and the ability to relax, and to sleep deeply and with restorative effect,” Ray Peat, PhD.

The good news is, we can use food to down regulate these stress hormones to improve sleep and avoid insomnia!

Anti-insomnia checklist:

  1. Get some calcium throughout the day from a source that agrees with you (bone broth, powdered eggshells, dairy). This helps quiet our parathyroid, and keeps parathyroid hormone (PTH) low. When blood calcium levels decrease (from lack of dietary calcium), it triggers parathyroid hormone (which controls calcium metabolism in the body) to break down bone to buffer the Ph of the blood. This increases stress, and is an INFLAMMATORY  process that often plays a role can play a role insomnia. “The parathyroid hormone (PTH) is an important regulator of calcium metabolism. If dietary calcium isn’t sufficient, causing blood calcium to decrease, the PTH increases, and removes calcium from bones to maintain a normal amount in the blood. PTH has many other effects, contributing to inflammation, calcification of soft tissues, and decreased respiratory energy production.” Ray Peat, PhD.
  2. Eat a calcium rich snack right before bed with a little bit of salt and carbohydrate to fight insomnia. Examples might be ice cream, warm milk with honey/salt, cheese and a piece of fruit, or bone broth and fruit for someone who avoids dairy completely.  “Combining milk and cheese with fruits adds to the antistress effect. The additional sugar and potassium and other minerals allow the milk protein to be used more efficiently, by moderating the secretion of cortisol, and helping to inhibit the secretion of PTH,” Ray Peat, PhD.
  3. Balance blood sugar throughout the day by always eating protein, fat, and carbohydrates together. Eat snacks as needed to keep blood sugar from falling (often every 2-3 hours for people with blood sugar issues).
  4. Avoid allergic foods! Any food that causes anxiety, rapid pulse rate, or other immediate reactions indicates the body’s stress response has been activated.
  5. Try an Epsom salt bath before bed using 1-4 cups in a bath. Soak for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Avoid using L-tryptophan and melatonin supplements for insomnia. These products increase serotonin which is a mediator of stress.
  7. Buy some lavender & valerian essential oil and keep it bedside. Apply 1-2 drops to the temples or soles of the feet before bed to support a restful night of sleep.

How to sleep like a baby: The anti-insomnia checklist | Butternutrition.com

Do you have any special strategies for fighting insomnia? If so, I would LOVE to hear them in the comments!


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Comments

    • butternutrition says

      Thanks! And yes– I think I forgot mention ice cream, updated now :) Will have to try your bedtime tea :)

  1. butternutrition says

    Here’s are some great articles: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/serotonin-depression-aggression.shtml & http://raypeat.com/articles/aging/tryptophan-serotonin-aging.shtml

    “Serotonin and its derivative, melatonin, are both involved in the biology of torpor and hibernation. Serotonin inhibits mitochondrial respiration. Excitoxic death of nerve cells involves both the limitation of energy production, and increased cellular activation. Serotonin has both of these actions.

    In hibernating animals, the stress of a declining food supply causes increased serotonin production. In humans and animals that don’t hibernate, the stress of winter causes very similar changes. Serotonin lowers temperature by decreasing the metabolic rate. Tryptophan and melatonin are also hypothermic. In the winter, more thyroid is needed to maintain a normal rate of metabolism.” -Ray Peat, PhD.

    • says

      Catherine, you may have saved my life! My mom died 3 weeks ago of 8 yr battle with Alzheimer’s. Since my dr gave me the 5-HTP to help me sleep thru the night cos of menopause he said take whenever I need a good nights sleep. I have along with taking St John’s wort. My mental clarity has diminished in the past 2 months cos I’ve been taking these more to handle stress of bad marriage & losing mom. I’ve been having odd inflammation, edema in fingers, craving salt & eat 2 eggs in coconut oil every morning. Dr recommened I eat eggs every day. I crave bad carbs. Very sensitive to caffeine in anything. Much more mysterious things that I’ve been trying to find an answer to. Those articles you posted made me sit back with astonishment!
      I’ve heard for yrs that I could be genetically linked to getting Alzheimer’s too but my lifestyle is so much purer than my mom’s. I deal with Candidiasis with sugar & my sinuses.
      I wish you were in town near me to finally solve this thing. I keep thinking it’s mental with depression but it’s my supplements! I’m going cold turkey ( pun not intended ) from supplements & see if there’s a difference. I may be somewhat addicted to the HTP now since I can’t seem to get a good nights sleep, hoping it’s attributed to grief only & will subside.

      • butternutrition says

        Thanks for your kind words Julie! I’m so sorry for your loss, and all that you are going through! I do work with people remotely! Feel free to send me a message and we can set up a free consult to see if Butter Nutrition can help you :)

        • says

          Thank you. I just saw your link. I’ll try later, I’m going to read up on Dr Peat’s site you gave, fascinating articles. I think I’ll do some experimenting with what is available there putting together more pieces of my better health & will contact you if I see a need. Have a great day & thanks!

  2. butternutrition says

    I’m sorry, I don’t currently know of any studies. I’m not a fan of amino acid therapy, especially for insomnia, because it doesn’t really address the underlying problem/issues.

  3. JoAnne says

    Appalling that exercise is NOT number one on this list. Want to sleep better at night? Get a minimum of 20 mins. of cardio exercise a day.

  4. says

    Surprisingly, I’ve discovered a few more techniques (natural of course) that work great for insomnia:

    1. Bright light therapy

    2. Infrared heating pad/mat

    3. Rebounding

    4. Acupressure mat – Especially if you’re sleep deprived because of back pain…

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