Do you find it difficult to fall asleep? Are you waking up often during the night? According to the National Sleep Foundation between 10% and 30% of adults struggle wtih insomnia. If you are a part of that statistic, it might be time to check your Instagram reels or start scrolling through Tiktok for the latest trending concoctions to help you sleep better. Just remember to set a timer so you don’t get lost in that blue-light screen until 2AM.
Remedies from the “olden” days
Before smartphones, sound machines, or sleeping pills existed, what did our ancestors do when their natural circadian rhythms got a little off beat? Back in simpler times, people used a variety of natural remedies to help them fall asleep. Most often, they would drink herbal teas made from plants like chamomile, valerian, lavender, and passionflower which promote relaxation.
Warm milk was also a popular bedtime drink in many cultures. It was believed to have a calming effect due to its content of the amino acid, tryptophan, which can promote the production of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones associated with sleep.
Another slightly less appetizing option was using decoctions (boiled extracts) or infusions (steeped extracts) from various herbs and roots, such as hops, lemon balm, and skullcap, to create sleep-inducing beverages.
Mocktail > Cocktail
Although times have changed, the need for sleep is still vital to overall human health and functionality. Living in the height of our current “Information Age” has led people to turn to social media platforms for practical advice on health, fitness, and even sleep habits.
Self-care and awareness of the nutrients that you put into your body are more important than ever. A recent Tiktok trend called the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail” encapsulates this very idea and has gathered widespread attention with over a million views.
The concoction is a simple, three-ingredient drink that consists of tart cherry juice, a scoop of magnesium powder, and a splash of prebiotic soda or sparkling water. The concept is to make an evening cocktail that helps the brain and body wind down but, instead of alcohol, it uses healthier components like unsweetened cherry juice and natural minerals.
So what is it about cherry juice and magnesium that make them great options for a sleep-inducing mixture?
Cherries, especially tart cherries, contain a relatively high amount of melatonin which is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. This hormone plays a crucial role in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants which help protect cells from stress – one of the main influences on sleep quality.
Magnesium is essential for muscle function. It helps regulate muscle contractions and is necessary for the relaxation phase of muscle movement. Magnesium also helps regulate neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals in the brain and nervous system. This can contribute to overall mental and emotional well-being.
Other important parts of our bodies affected by magnesium levels are our blood sugar levels, bone density, and energy production as well as both heart and digestive health. The mineral can be taken as a powdered supplement or found naturally in some foods like whole grains, nuts, avocados, bananas, and leafy greens.
Variations for the taste buds
But what if you don’t enjoy the flavor of cherries or are allergic to them? Not to worry. There are other trending concoctions that help induce good sleep and have a variety of flavors. In fact, some remain faithful to the more traditional proven sleep aids of days gone by.
- Chamomile Tea Mocktail: Chamomile tea is known for its calming effects. You can create a chamomile tea base and mix it with sparkling water, a touch of honey, and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing and soothing drink.
- Blueberry Mint Fizz: Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, and mint has a refreshing quality. Muddle fresh blueberries and mint leaves, add a splash of sparkling water, and garnish with a twist of lime.
- Tropical Turmeric Elixir: Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Create a base with turmeric, coconut milk or water, and a touch of pineapple or mango juice for a tropical twist.
- Hibiscus Iced Tea: Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a lovely, tart flavor. Brew hibiscus tea, chill it, and sweeten with honey or another sweetener of your choice. You can add a slice of orange or lemon for extra flavor.