OK….y’all need to seriously get your minds out of the gutter!!  Besides, if you are reading this blog post and it is waaaaaay past your bedtime, you really need to pay close attention because what I’m about to share with you could possibly be your answer to how you can fall asleep and stay asleep for the first time in forever!

INSOMNIA:  Inability to obtain sufficient sleep; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; habitual sleeplessness.  Insomnia is linked to various health issues such as psychiatric problems, overweight and obesity, increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes and substance abuse. I used to sufferer horribly from insomnia – many times running on 2-3 hours of sleep. However, I was not alone.  In the United States alone, a staggering 60 million people suffer from insomnia!  I never connected the dots between my insomnia, my obesity and my lack of proper nutrition.  I never made the connection until I got educated on the effects of certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) have on the body.  And let me tell you something, once I made the connection….I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep for the first time in years!!!!!! It was sheer magic.  What I am about to share with you is yet another way that lends credibility to the saying “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE!”

food as medicine

The Importance of B Vitamins

B Vitamins – B Vitamins help to regulate tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an amino acid which is very important for maintaining healthy sleep patterns.

  • B3 (Niacin)  Vitamin B3 increases the effects of tryptophan.  Making sure that you are eating foods rich in B3 is especially helpful for those who fall asleep, but wake up during the night.
  • B5 (pantothenic acid) – B5 helps to relieve the stress and anxiety which can lead to sleeplessness.
  • B12 promotes normal sleep – awake cycles.

What foods are rich in the B vitamins? Bananas, liver, liver oil, fish, turkey, nutritional yeast and molasses.


Perhaps Grandma wasn’t too far off when she offered you a glass of warm milk before bed.  Turns out that calcium is a mineral that is also a natural relaxant.  It has a calming effect on the nervous system. So, what can we do?  Try incorporating the following items into your nutrition plan: dairy, certain seaweeds such as kelp, nuts & seeds (especially almonds & sesame seeds), beans, oranges, broccoli and calcium fortified products such as soy milk.


A deficiency in calcium can cause nervousness.  It can also cause a more shallow sleep, which in turn can cause you to wake during the night.  Great sources of magnesium are wheat bran, almonds, cashews, kelp and blackstrap molasses.


Iron has tremendous affect on sleep patterns.  Therefore, to have proper levels of iron is very important in the fight against insomnia.


Tryptophan is an amino acid found in milk, meat, fish, eggs, beans, cheese and green leafy vegetables.  Tryptophan is important because of its production of serotonin. Serotonin slows nervous activity and induces sleep.  It’s a natural sleeping pill!

So, there you have it! Can you see why I am so passionate about nutrition ??? it’s simply the key to our good health and longevity. Everything from chronic disease, to obesity and yes, even the inability to sleep is all tied to how we nourish ourselves!  If you are suffering from insomnia, I encourage you to try the items that I’ve written about here.  Keep in mind that as we get older, the rate of absorption of vitamins and minerals slows.  So, give it a few weeks and don’t get frustrated if the you don’t notice significant results immediately.

As always my loves, I’m here to coach you through!  Until next time…


Holly A. Gray Nutrition Specialist Health Coach Triathlete 2015 Swim Bike Mom Ambassador

Holly A. Gray
Nutrition Specialist
Health Coach
2015 Swim Bike Mom Ambassador

If you or someone you know needs a nutrition & health coach, please contact me by clicking here!

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