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Ensure a good night’s sleep

health-and-fitness Updated: Apr 08, 2011 01:00 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Hindustan Times
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It is a traumatic experience for a person to be wide awake when the rest of the world is asleep. Insomnia can have a negative impact on concentration, affect productivity and cause mood swings. Lack of sleep puts us at risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Causes of insomnia

The known reasons are:
Psychological: Anxiety, depression, worry, anger.
Genetic: Hormonal changes during menopause and menstruation.
Environmental: Noise, discomfort, travelling in different time zones.
Medical conditions: Heart diseases, breathing problems, digestive complaints
Drugs: Nicotine, caffeine, heroin, cocaine
Sleeping pills and tranquillisers: Cause sleep disturbance
Other prescription drugs: Contraceptives, diuretics, slimming pills, stimulants

Deal with sleeplessness :
* A glass of warm milk, which contains tryptophan, encourages sleep.
* Eat legumes, peanuts, fish or poultry. They’re rich in vitamin B3 and promotes healthy sleep.
* Pasta, rice, bread, porridge made from broken wheat has a mild sleep-enhancing effect as they increase serotonin.
* Exercise helps you to sleep better.
* The ayurvedic herb Brahmi is effective in inducing sleep.

Foods which interfere with sleep :
* Oily and spicy foods, foods flavored with garlic, beans, cucumbers and peanuts cause gas and indigestion, leading to disturbed sleep.
* High protein foods like chicken and mutton are heavy and difficult to digest, therefore inhibit sleep.
* Never eat a heavy meal before bed as your digestive system slows down and the calories are not properly used by your body.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre