Can Pumpkin Seeds Help You Sleep Better?
With Halloween and Thanksgiving over, it’s likely to now see pumpkins discarded by the road. No longer relevant. This fruit—yes, fruit!— is often left for the squirrels to enjoy; however, what’s inside the pumpkin may be more valuable than just being Tuesday’s trash. Pumpkin seeds – which are normally discarded before cutting into pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns – are not only a tasty snack, but there is also speculation that the seeds can help us sleep better. So, before you toss your old pumpkin to the curb this year, let’s talk about why these seeds are too good to give up to the squirrels!
Sleep is necessary for survival
Sleep is necessary for survival, yet many people struggle with insomnia or don’t get a healthy amount of sleep each night. While sleeping pills are often prescribed, some studies suggest that not only are they ineffective, but they also might be deadly. On Dr. Mehmet Oz’s website, Dr. Oz, Pina LoGiudice, ND, Natural Naturopathic Medicine, and Peter Bongiorno, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, state that not only do people who take the pills have a risk of becoming dependent on them, but “it is known that these medications do not allow the body to fall into the deep phases of sleep that allow for the best health benefits sleep can give us.” Over time, not getting the right amount of sleep is dangerous to our health; however, a 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal “found […] a 300% increase in death in people who took fewer than 18 sleeping pills a year,” as stated on Dr. Oz. Furthermore, the “study concluded that these sleeping drugs ‘may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone,” British Medical Journal explains as stated on Dr. Oz. These facts are alarming, but luckily, there are natural ways to help sleeping patterns.
See Also – 6 Ways to to Help You Sleep Better
Tryptophan in Pumpkin Seeds
As stated on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s website, ShareCare, Peter Bongiorno, ND, Naturopathic Medicine explains that “Pumpkin seeds […] have relatively high amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the feel-good and relaxation neurotransmitter serotonin.” The body needs serotonin for many reasons—helping us sleep well and keep our moods and appetites regulated to name a few. Zinc, also important to our health, is present in pumpkin seeds as well and, according to ShareCare, zinc “can help the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin, [and] Serotonin levels are typically low in people who cannot stay asleep and wake throughout the night.” Packed with nutrients, easy to make, and healthier than sleeping pills, pumpkin seeds seem to be the perfect after-dinner snack.
Eating pumpkin seeds will help us sleep better
Verdict: Fact. Eating pumpkin seeds will help us sleep better. ShareCare suggests to “take about 1 cup of seeds […] with applesauce or another healthy carbohydrate; the carbohydrate allows the tryptophan to get into the brain in higher amounts.” My favorite way to eat pumpkin seeds is to coat them in oil and then sprinkle on some salt and bake! Speak to your doctor about pumpkin seeds and other remedies to help your body to fall asleep naturally.
What other natural sleep aids do you know about?