Food For Healthy Bones

Irma Jennings - INHC - Holistic Bone Coach

Build Healthy Bones While You Sleep

October 31, 2017
Irma Jennings

At the end of a long day I am bone tired. But when my head hits the pillow, my Skelly still has lots of work to do. Here’s what I mean…

Your bones have a daily cycle just like the rest of your body.

They are built up by special cells called osteoblasts that work mostly during the daytime. But come nighttime your bones are broken down by other cells called osteoclasts. They clear out old cells and make way for the new osteoblasts that come during the day.

But if you’re awake at night, osteoclasts become more active than normal. They break down too much bone at night.

That’s one reason why it’s so important to get a good night’s sleep for your bone health.

There’s another reason… Research shows that the same hormone that brings on sleep is critical for your bones. I’m talking about melatonin.

When researchers from McGill University gave older rats melatonin, it helped regulate their sleep. At the same time, their bones became denser, less brittle and more flexible.[i]

Other animal studies show that lack of sleep halts new bone formation, damages cells, and produces abnormal bone marrow.[ii] In other words, lack of sleep interfered with the repair process of bones.

It’s the same for people…

In one study from Norway, insomnia was linked to a 52 percent increased risk of osteoporosis.[iii] A Chinese study showed a link between lost sleep and lower bone density in middle aged and older women.[iv]

And Harvard researchers studied more than 38,000 postmenopausal women. They found that those who worked night shifts for a long time had disturbed melatonin production. And they had more wrist and hip fractures.[v]

You may have noticed that as you get older you have more trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. Part of the problem is that by the time you reach 50 or 60 you produce only a fraction of the melatonin you did when you were 20 years old.

Skelly and I try to get a solid seven or eight hours of sleep every day. But we don’t use sleeping pills. Here are 11 sleep tips we use to naturally increase melatonin and get better bone-building sleep:

  1. Dim the lights in your bedroom. Even a little bit of light can disrupt melatonin. Lights in the room while you sleep can suppress melatonin by more than 50 percent. That includes light from a clock radio, cell phone, or night light. If you can’t get your room completely dark, use an eye mask.  [br]
  2. No screens before bed. Computers, cell phones, TVs, and other electronic devices all emit “blue light.” This type of light signals “daylight” to your body and triggers lower melatonin levels. Try turning off all screens at least an hour before bed. [br]
  3. Get a little sunshine every day. When natural sunlight hits your eyes it triggers the production of melatonin. By nightfall this hormone is ready to help you fall asleep and keep you sleeping deeply through the night. [br]
  4. No caffeine after noon. This can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. But if you are really sensitive you may have to cut caffeine out entirely. [br]
  5. Diffuse lavender oil. Lavender oil promotes sleep. In one British study volunteers ranked their sleep 20 percent better in a lavender-scented room.[vi] [br]
  6. No liquids after 8 pm. Hydration is important but one of the biggest problems my clients have with sleep is waking up to go to the bathroom. My solution is to drink plenty during the day but no liquids after 8 pm. If that doesn’t work for you keep moving the cutoff earlier until you get through the night with no potty stop. [br]
  7. Eat sleep-friendly foods. Eat more of these foods that help you sleep naturally: [br]
  8. Tropical fruits help boost your levels of melatonin. Pineapples, bananas, and oranges can more than double your blood levels. [br]
  9. Tart cherries are rich in melatonin. Studies show tart cherry juice can increase sleep time by 34 minutes. It can also speed up falling asleep in just seven days.[vii] Drink eight ounces in the morning and two hours before bed. [br]
  10. Almonds are rich in magnesium which helps your muscles relax for a good sleep. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce melatonin and induce sleep. [br]
  11. Chamomile tea helps you relax and get to sleep. Drink a cup two hours before bed. [br]

Bring your sleep successes and questions to my new Facebook Page - Osteoporosis and Food.

Please let me know how I can serve you and your bones better.

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[i] Isabel F Tresguerres, Faleh Tamimi, Hazem Eimar,et al. “Melatonin dietary supplement as an anti-aging therapy for age-related bone loss.Rejuvenation Research, 2014; 140311120122003.

[ii] Everson, C. A., A. E. Folley, and J. M. Toth. “Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats.” Experimental Biology and Medicine 2012;237(9):1101–1109.

[iii] Sivertsen, B., T. Lallukka, P. Salo, et al. “Insomnia as a risk factor for ill health: Results from the large population-based prospective HUNT study in Norway.” Journal of Sleep Research 2014;23(2):124–132.

[iv] Fu, X., X. Zhao, H. Lu, F. Jiang, X. Ma, and S. Zhu. “Association between sleep duration and bone mineral density in Chinese women.” Bone 2011;49(5):1062–1066.

[v] D. Feskanich, S. E. Hankinson, and E. S. Schernhammer, “Nightshift work and fracture risk. The Nurses’ Health Study.” Osteoporosis International, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 537–542, 2009.

[vi] Lewith GT et al. “A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia.” J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):631-7.

[vii] Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. “Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.” Eur J Nutr. 2012;51(8):909-16.

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Irma Jennings, INHC
Your Holistic Bone Coach
[email protected]

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