How a Raw Food Diet Helps You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom
When you eat mostly vegan raw food you’ll probably need much less sleep.

As you transition to a raw food lifestyle you’ll find days when you need very little sleep. But there will be days, when the cleansing has gone deeper and you feel tired, drained of energy. Don’t do anything else—just sleep. It’s during sleep that the body heals and performs its cleansing chores. Never use someone else’s sleep pattern as the sole standard for yourself. Sleep as much as your body tells you to, whatever others may do. You should never live with sleep deprivation. The classic signs of sleep deprivation are difficulty getting up in the morning…feeling tired throughout the day…lacking energy…and feeling irritable.  Raw food helps you get a good night’s sleep!

Your body will tell you how much sleep you really need. The ideal is to wake up feeling refreshed, alert, energized—even euphoric.  For raw foodists, they generally need less sleep than what is normal for cooked food eaters. You see, sleep is supposed to recharge your energy, like a battery. With raw food you get a lot more energy and waste a lot less on digestion or elimination.

When you eat a raw food diet, you are eating foods that require much less energy for absorption, digestion and elimination. Fruits use almost no energy. Animal products are the most difficult and can take many hours and even days to process through your digestive system. This is probably at least part of the reason raw food helps you get a good night’s sleep.

However, it is also possible that not eating a properly balanced raw diet can actually disturb your sleep patterns. A healthy raw diet will provide you with at least 80% of your calories from carbohydrates. A problem can occur if you create a calorie deficit from misunderstanding how to switch from a calorically-dense cooked food diet to a lower-calorie raw diet. This is especially true when you first start on raw foods and could last for months, or a couple of years, while your body adjusts and you learn how to eat properly.

In the beginning of a raw lifestyle you may need to increase the volume of food you must consume to meet your caloric requirements. Or you may simply have to eat more calorically-dense foods. Sometimes people trying to lose weight with raw foods eat an intentionally low calorie diet. This almost always leads to cravings as well as sleep problems.

8 Raw Foods to Improve Your Sleep
  • Raw cherries can help you improve your sleep.Cherries: Increase the production of melatonin.
  • Guava: Packed full of the amino acid tryptophan (a precursor to melatonin) which aids in sleepiness.
  • Raw almonds can help bring you the joy of sleep.

Almonds, Sesame Seeds & Sunflower Seeds are also high in tryptophan. Pumpkin Seeds contain magnesium, helping to relax your mind and muscles so you drift off. Green Leafy Vegetables contain key cofactors for the synthesis of sleep hormones.Green Leafy Vegetables: Kelp is one of natures’ highest sources of calcium, which has been shown to promote sleep.

6 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies for Insomnia

Magnolia is a Chinese Herb that can help you catch your zzz’s. Traditional Chinese Herbs have been used for thousands of year to improve sleep. Key herbs such as zizyphus, happy bark, dragon bone, magnolia, ophipogon and chyrsanthynum are used to “energetically” calm the heart and clear excess heat that may be contributing to sleep difficulties.

9 Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Sleep hygiene techniques have been shown to improve insomnia.

  1. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep in a dark well-ventilated room.
  2. Make sure the temperature is ideal for sleep. Neither too hot or too cold.
  3. Avoid consuming stimulants before bed.
  4. Avoid stimulating activity before bedtime, like working late or watching T.V.
  5. Go to bed when you feel sleepy.  If you find yourself just staring at the ceiling form 20 min.,  get out of bed and do some quiet activities until you feel sleepy.
  6. If you worry a lot keep a note pad by your bed and write down your thoughts.
  7. Get up at the same time every day no matter how much or little you’ve slept. This will help regulate your internal clock.
  8. Remind yourself that it is okay to wake during the night as your body is just following its natural sleep rhythms.
  9. Make your bedroom a place of rest — avoid clutter and stimulating colors.

A raw food guru and friend of mine, David Wolfe, once said that we should think of sleep as food. Chinese medicine treats sleep like a tonic. If you are not sleeping well, consider your lifestyle and determine what may be missing or in excess. Once you figure it out, do something to fix it so you can get a good night’s sleep and wake refreshed every day. Also, try to add foods that to your diet that can improve your sleep, — like cherries, leafy greens, nuts and seeds and guava.

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I studied nutrition at U.C. Berkeley and was a nutrition writer for Shaklee Corp. in the 1980s. I became a raw foodist in 1995 at the Optimum Health Institute of San Diego where I taught raw food for several years. Later, I taught at New Life Expos, Wild Oats stores and many other venues. I created this website in 1996. My greatest joy is learning about raw food, nutrition, health and more then sharing it with you. Thanks for making the #1 website for Raw Food!