It’s no surprise that so many people struggle with insomnia nowadays (myself included). It’s a wonder anyone can get a good night’s sleep with all the hyped-up fear and alarm constantly blasted at us in the news. “Cover your face and your child’s face forever or you might get ill.” “Inject experimental drugs into your body to prove you care about others.” “Do what we say or you won’t be allowed to work, travel or buy food.” Hearing this stuff over and over again on a daily basis causes stress that makes it nearly impossible to have a restful night’s sleep. The good news is that studies show you can sleep better if you eat pistachios a couple hours before going to bed!
Pistachios can be expensive, so it helps to buy them in bulk. It’s also cheaper to buy them in their shells rather than packages containing nuts that have already been shelled for you. Maybe you’ve tried various forms of sleep enhancement in the past. Have you used an eye-mask to darken your room. What about the kind with gel inside that you can chill in the fridge ahead of time? You may also have tried using essential oils like lavender to help you relax at bed time. (This works!) If you try to avoid commercial drugs to help you sleep better, you might have considered trying melatonin, which is a natural remedy.
Pistachios are loaded with melatonin to help you sleep better
The pineal gland in your brain produces the hormone, melatonin. The amount of natural light you’re exposed to each day, as well as the “internal clock” you body has affect the amount of the melatonin your brain makes. If your body is functioning properly, your melatonin levels are highest at night and start to lower when the sun rises in the morning. The decreased level of melatonin is what causes you to wake up.
For various reasons, a person whose melatonin levels are not functioning properly might have trouble sleeping. Many stores sell melatonin supplements to induce sleep and cure insomnia. (WARNING: If you take such supplements, do NOT consume caffeine. I mistakenly did this once and thought my heart was going to explode right out of my chest!)
It just so happens that pistachios have a high melatonin content! In fact, researchers have discovered that there is more melatonin in pistachios than in most other fruits, veggies, legumes and seeds. This is why eating pistachios before going to bed at night can help you sleep better!
Several night of good sleep got me thinking
I’ve never needed the typical eight to 10 hours of sleep to feel energized and healthy. I think that because I have raised 10 children, my body simply grew accustomed to getting by on less sleep. I feel strong and full of energy (usually) with five to six hours of sleep per night. However, in recent years, I’ve been struggling with insomnia. So much so that I began to dread night time because I knew I’d have to try to sleep and wouldn’t be able to. I recently discovered that I sleep better when I eat pistachios at night, but the discovery was accidental.
There were several days in a particular week (not consecutive) when I feel asleep and stayed sleeping for numerous hours without disturbance. In the past several years, this is almost unheard of for me. I typically toss and turn all night and often just get up and walk around or read for a while until the restless feeling subsides. However, there are a few nights in a particular week where I had a restful sleep. When I awakened in the morning, I was happily surprised. (I still arose during those nights to go to the bathroom but was able to fall right back to sleep.) I wondered what had made a difference on those nights but couldn’t put my finger on anything.
Accidental anecdotal evidence that it’s true
Then, as I was scrolling on Instagram, a natural remedy page that I follow popped up in my feed. Guess what the post was about? It was a post about pistachios and how eating them before bed helps you sleep better! It just so happened that on the three (non-consecutive) days that I had gotten a restful sleep, I had eaten a bowl of pistachios while reading, a couple hours before bed! That’s all I needed to see to convince me that it’s true because:
A) I had never heard of pistachios being a food that induces sleep prior to seeing the Instagram post.
B) I usually have a LOT of trouble sleeping.
C) I had several restful nights of sleep that were not consecutive, and on the days in between (when I didn’t eat pistachios) I tossed and turned all night.
D) On the nights I ate pistachios, I slept well but didn’t make a connection until I read the Instagram post.
Pistachios have other healthful properties as well
In researching more about pistachios after discovering that studies show they can help us sleep better, I learned they are pretty much a Super Food when it comes to healthy snack options. Not only do they contain high levels of melatonin (a natural sleep enhancer), they are loaded with antioxidants, too! Pistachios also contain a component that reduces the breakdown of tryptophan. Guess what your body does with tryptophan? It uses it to make melatonin!
Pistachios also contain vitamin B6 and magnesium, which are nutrients that help you sleep better, as well. So, how many pistachios should you eat and when should you eat them to get a good night’s sleep? Researchers say that the best way to use pistachios for sleep enhancement is to eat about an ounce of them, approximately an hour or so before going to bed at night.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are natural foods available that we can eat to improve our health and sleep better, too?