3 Spices That Can Cure Your Sleepless Nights
When you are not getting the proper amount of rest at night, it is easy to get on an endless cycle of caffeine fueled mornings and sleep deprived nights. A hot cup of coffee or an energy shot has been my savior many days. These are quick fixes but they can also have a negative effect on the body if you are using them excessively, in order to get you through the day everyday. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can leave your brain extremely wired at night, causing you to feel awake and lively . This can also happen with small amounts of caffeine if you are sensitive to stimulants. Caffeine molecules block receptors in the brain from sending signals that tell the body that it is tired and needs to rest. So even if you are lucky enough to get to sleep, the steady stream of caffeine that is still present in your system may make you toss and turn all night. High doses of caffeine throughout the day can trigger the jitters, increased heart rate or anxiety.
Caffeine puts you in a good mood, makes you more focused and energizes you by stimulating your brain to release chemicals that send various signals throughout the body. One cup of coffee or green tea is good for those mornings when you need an extra boost because it has time to get out of your system. But for the rest of the day, you can try consuming caffeine-free foods and drinks that will stimulate your brain and help to get you through the rest of your day.
The list below contains some natural spices that you can add to a beverage or even include in a dish to stimulate your brain instead of consuming excessive amounts of caffeine all day and triggering episodes of insomnia at night. These spices will NOT give you the intense rush that caffeine does, but they will give you relief from the cranky mood, foggy thoughts and lack of energy that normally accompanies a sleepless night until you can get a good night’s rest.
1) Cayenne Pepper for more energy
Cayenne pepper is a hot-tasting red powder that is made from ground dried chili peppers. Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin, which is what gives cayenne pepper it’s spiciness. The spiciness triggers the release of a neurotransmitter known as endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural way of relieving pain by blocking the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. This will increase the flow of blood that is traveling to your brain, which will also increase the blood flowing throughout your entire body, causing your energy level to rise. You can try adding a little cayenne to a cup of hot chocolate. Chocolate has some caffeine in it, but not enough to keep you up late at night, unless you’re sensitive to caffeine. You can also add a little cayenne pepper to a smoothie to get an extra boost.
2) Cinnamon for clarity and focus
Cinnamon is a spice made from the peeled, dried, and rolled bark of a tree. Cinnamon is known for it’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar level affects your brain cells’ ability to communicate information to each other. When you don’t get enough sleep it makes your blood sugar levels too low or too high, resulting in miscommunication between your brain cells. This miscommunication is what contributes to grogginess or foggy thinking. Adding 1/2 a tsp of cinnamon to a cup of decaf coffee can give you the focus you need to complete your tasks for the rest of the day.
3) Turmeric powder to boost your mood
Turmeric powder is the boiled, dried, and usually ground stem of the turmeric plant. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to possess antidepressant properties that regulate the release of chemicals in the brain called serotonin and dopamine. This combination of chemicals is what puts us into a more happy and stable mood. Instead of going for a cup of caffeine in the middle or end of the day, try drinking a turmeric latte instead. Just be careful with the powder because it can easily dye anything yellow. Trust me….I know from experience😂 Curcumin does require the support of black pepper to absorb into the liver. So don’t forget sprinkle in a little black pepper. Curcumin also needs the support of fat to absorb into the lining of the stomach, so add about a 1/2 teaspoon of any kind of oil. I use olive oil, but most people prefer coconut oil.
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~Images courtesy of Istock
You should consult your physician to recieve a professional diagnosis and get more advice about whether it’s safe for you to incorporate any of these items into your diet.