• The TCM Way: 6 Foods To Improve Sleep Quality
  • Jason Joseph
  • HealthNutritionTCMWellness
The TCM Way: 6 Foods To Improve Sleep Quality


Adequate sleeping time is an important part of healthy life. Unfortunately, today’s busy society makes it a challenge to get enough sleep. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or the right diet are said to have effective methods for dealing with this problem.

A person needs six hours of sleep to maintain a healthy life. Yet, nowadays in big cities this six-hours-of-sleep requirement cannot be easily met. “It is obvious we are now living in a 24/7 society,” Carl Hunt, MD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institute of Health in the US.

Chronic lack of sleep has been proven to be related to serious illness, including heart problems, depression, cognitive impairment, diabetes and obesity. “Not many people are aware of the importance of sleep. Sleeping is seen to be less related to health than exercising and diet,” explained Hunt. As people think sleep is less important, they rarely consult with their doctors about their sleeping disorders and chronic lack of sleep goes untreated.

From the point of view of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), lack of sleep may stem from tension. “So the solution should be simple: there is relaxation, spa treatment, massage, meditation, or breathing practice,” Dr. Rachmat, a TCM specialist from Klinik Shanghai.

Stress and tension, he admitted, are common among busy city people. “When the body and mind are overworked and tense, spend just one hour for reflexology or other relaxation massage. Make relaxation part of a lifestyle so that body and mind can be refreshed,” he said.

Rachmat added that tiring physical activities rarely contribute to tension and sleep problems. “It is brain activities that are not coupled with physical activities that cause sleeping disorders. It is inadvisable for a body to not sweat,” he cautioned. "Poor sleep quality is also likely to derive from lifestyle and eating patterns." Here are six foods that can contribute positively to our sleep quality.

Oatmeal with milk and honey. Oatmeal may already be on the breakfast menu, but why not consume oatmeal before sleeping? Oats are one food that is known to contain melatonin. High melatonin production inside the body can help a person sleep. Melatonin production suffers as we age, so we often find older people suffering from insomnia. To fight insomnia, consume melatonin-rich foods, such as oatmeal. For added flavor, mix half a cup of melatonin with a glass of warm milk and one teaspoonful of honey. Eat it 90 minutes before going to bed.

Banana with almond. Eating a banana is said to help with sleeping disorders. Research indicates that bananas contain potassium and magnesium, which can induce sleeping. You can eat a banana with almonds, which are also rich in magnesium and tryptophan. Have a banana on a plate with crunched almonds. Consume this fruit 90 minutes before hitting the pillow.

Cherry juice. Cherries contain more melatonin than other foods. Research by the Journal of Medicinal Food reveals that drinking a glass of cherry juice before sleep can help deal with sleeping disorders we often suffer as we age and helps us sleep soundly. Drink a glass of cherry juice in the morning and another glass two hours before sleeping.

Rice and nuts. Nuts are rich in magnesium, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin B. These substances can help manage a person’s circadian rhythm. Add rice rich in glycemic to help sleep faster as it increases blood sugar in the body. This menu should be consumed four hours before bed.

Cheese and biscuits. For evening snacks, consume cheese mixed with wheat biscuits. This food can increase serotonin and melatonin levels. Research conducted by the British Cheese Board reveals that eating cheese can lead to dream-filled sleep. The increase of the serotonin hormone can improve mood and lessen stress. This snack should be consumed 30 minutes before going to bed.

Yams and vegetables. Eating yams and green vegetables can help increase potassium in the body, thus help us sleep well. Among other green vegetables that are rich in potassium are spinach and broccoli. Eat one of these vegetables 90 minutes before turning in.

  • Jason Joseph
  • HealthNutritionTCMWellness

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