If you are among the 15% of adults suffering from chronic insomnia, you’ve probably tried nearly every natural treatment possible. If relaxation exercises, gentle herbs and aromatherapy just aren’t cutting it, you may be tempted to switch to addictive pharmaceutical sedatives. Before threatening your physical or mental health with harsh drugs, consider trying these three fruits to help you sleep. Unlike most other medical techniques, medicinal fruits are associated with few (or no) side effects and are generally not habit-forming.
Melatonin, an antioxidant hormone created in the human body, has long been used as an over-the-counter natural sleep aid. The National Institutes of Health note that this key hormone can enable sleep in healthy people as well as people suffering from jet lag, psychiatric disturbances and delayed sleep phase syndrome. Grapes– one of the world’s healthiest and most popular fruits– appears to be one of the only food sources of this critical sleep-enhancing hormone.
According to an Italian study published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the potent antioxidant activity associated with grapes may come partially from melatonin. This important finding suggests that grapes are a safe, healthy fruit for helping people sleep. As a bonus, grape-eating insomniacs will appreciate the anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating effects associated with this versatile sedative fruit.
Passionflower has a long-standing reputation as a sedative, according to the National Institutes of Health. Passionfruit– a delicious treat derived from a potently medicinal fruit of one passionflower species– contains even higher concentrations of the sedative alkaloid compounds found in passionflower. A large glass of passionfruit juice may treat insomnia far better than a glass of warm milk; alternatively, these tasty fruits may be blended into a smoothie.
Today’s supplement market overflows with advertisements for “superfruits”– antioxidant powerhouses touted as weight loss aids, antidepressants and even cancer cures. While many of the claims made regarding superfruits are overinflated, goji is one fruit that may deserve a second look. In addition to containing large quantities of lycopene and other carotenoid compounds, goji may be a fruit that can help you sleep.
In the Himalayas, goji is sometimes called the “Happy Berry” because it has a reputation for battling mood disturbances and depression. Goji may also help to treat insomnia. Studies of goji’s effectiveness are limited, but one pilot trial published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested that it enables sleep, facilitates easier awakening, and supports healthy energy levels. For some insomniacs, this relatively expensive superfruit may be worth the investment.
While sedative fruits may help to treat sleep problems with fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs, people with severe sleep disorders should understand that fruits are a subject of limited scientific research. If your insomnia is persistent, severe or disruptive to your daily life, consult your health care provider. Together, you may be able to find an effective treatment option to restore you to a state of restful sleep.