Lately there is a lot of talk about sleep deprivation and the affects on our health. Over time a lack of sleep, or not enough sleep, can lead to several serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and many others.  Savor Culinary Services had an opportunity to partner with Cantoni, a contemporary furniture store in Dallas, last Thursday.  Cantoni was launching a new mattress and had a guest speaker to talk about the importance of sleep.  The kind people at Cantoni wanted to provide a healthy lunch for the attending guest, and we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to prepare and provide that nutritious lunch.  We were also able to stay and hear the guest speaker’s very informative presentation.

While planning our menu for this event, we took into consideration the theme of the day, so we created a menu full of foods that contain naturally occurring substances which can contribute to a better night’s rest.  We did a little research on the subject and wanted to share with you some of the foods that can help you drift off to dreamland a little easier.

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan.  Tryptophan is the amino acid that always gets blamed for the practically mandatory nap on Thanksgiving day.  Tryptophan helps make serotonin and melatonin, the hormones that help regulate our “body clock”.

Honey slightly raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. A spoonful before bed helps make for a more restful sleep.

Lettuce contains lactucarium which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium.

Cherry Juice makes you fall asleep faster and naturally boosts melatonin.

Cheese has calcium which helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin.

Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep.

Cereal before bed is a good snack, it combines two components for getting good sleep, carbohydrates & calcium.

Passionfruit Tea drank an hour before bedtime helped people sleep more soundly.  Researchers believe that Harman alkaloids-chemicals found in high levels in the flower-act on your nervous system to make you tired.

Kale and other greens, such as spinach, are high in calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin.

Shrimp & Lobster are another good source of tryptophan.

Hummus is made with chickpeas which are another excellent source of tryptophan.

Elk, this game meat has nearly twice as much tryptophan as turkey breast and with a side of carbohydrates to help the tryptophan reach the brain, you will be sleeping well.

Salmon is high in vitamin B6 which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin.

Chamomile Tea is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts as a mild sedative.

If you are having trouble catching your Z’s, why not incorporate some of these foods into your diet, and hopefully soon you will begin having sweet dreams once again!