It isn’t very often that I stumble onto new sleep remedy like turmeric. Working night shift sleep is pretty much almost an obsession of mine. Working the hours that I work the quantity of sleep isn’t usual the issue it is generally the quality of the sleep that matters most. That said I have stacked sleep tip on top of sleep tip over the year to essentially hack the quality of my sleep. And as my situation has improved I have been able to increase the duration of my sleep as well. But this may not be true for everyone and as you work to improve the quality I will continue to research and try to find new ideas that may help with that. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my other sleep tips be sure to check out the Sleep Tips page.
Recently I was listening to one of my favorite health podcasts the Model Health Show and I stumbled upon a new sleep tip that I would like to dive into. On the podcast, they were discussing how the podcaster had recently returned from his travels and had been dealing with some sleep issues along the way. But along with his other sleep hacks he typically uses he was also ingesting a little known(or well known) supplement in his tea known as turmeric. Personally, I had heard of turmeric before as use as a seasoning for food. But I had never thought this seasoning would help with sleep. Lately, I have been discovering more and more about of some of the things I keep in my spice cabinet without realizing their benefits.
Turmeric Recipe Ideas
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp raw honey or sweetener of your choice
In a small pot, bring almond milk to a boil, turn off the heat and whisk in turmeric, cardamom, and raw honey.
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1″ piece of ginger sliced
- raw honey to sweeten if desired.
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of clove
- pinch of nutmeg
- tsp fresh ginger
- pinch of fresh ground black pepper
- teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 cups of water
- Raw honey to sweeten
- Milk sub of choice
- Simmer herbs and water together for 10 mins.
- Strain out and add honey and milk.
Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric for Mood
One key ingredient to improving the quality of our sleep is the mood. If you are a first responder, a nurse, or just a generally high strung type of person you know very well the downside to stress or the mental conversations that come along with it. Calming that inner chatter is key to being able to increase the quality of your sleep. In a study from 2008 curcumin which is the active ingredient in turmeric was shown to enhance brain chemicals such as noradrenalin and serotonin, and increase the production of dopamine, which has an antidepressant effect.
Protect Against Sleep Deprevation
The imrpoved quality of your sleep not only helps the hormal imbalance we suffer from working night shift but it also has an effect on your body composition. Working night shift we tend to put our health on the back burner in hopes of simply making it through the night. That said our health should be at the forefront of our thoughts at all time. Sleep being our primary concern. A recent study showed that curcumin protected 72 hour sleep-deprived mice from the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Treatment with curcumin extract for five days significantly prevented impairment in locomotor activity, anxiety-like effects and oxidative damage.
Help Fight Inflammation
While maybe not as beneficial to our sleep, inflammation is still important to our health. It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. A recent study showed that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, it is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.
The real question though as always is how do I get the benefits of turmeric without having to season everything I have with it. The reality is that the main ingredient we are looking for is curcumin. Though this is the active ingredient in turmeric is still is only about 3% of the seasoning(it is what gives it its color). Like other supplements, this should be used to supplement your behavioral adjustments not replace them, but there are still thing you can do.
You could buy a curcumin supplement which should ideally contain one with Bioperine(black pepper), which is the substance that enhances absorption of curcumin by 2000%. You can also simply add Turmeric to your evening drink before bed(see above for some recipe ideas). Though not as effective as pills. Personally, I like to use a powdered supplement that I then add to my drinks instead of just the spice from the seasoning section, ensuring whichever one I purchase has a higher content of curcumin and Bioperine(also called piperine).