Pulque for Insomnia

In addition to healthy foods, water and daily exercise, the human body needs regular intervals of sleep in order to properly function. Sleep helps repair body cells, stimulates hormones that regulate mood and cognitive function, boosts the immune system, replenishes energy, and supports a healthy metabolism. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, can contribute to anxiety, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

Insomnia is a widespread problem in America. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of American adults have sleep issues at least a few nights each week. The frustrating symptoms of insomnia include difficulty in getting to sleep, frequent waking throughout the night, waking too early, and feeling tired and groggy in the morning.

With so many people suffering from insomnia, many are turning to prescribed sleeping pills as a fix. While sleeping pills can help people fall and stay asleep, they don't allow the body to reach the deep stages of sleep needed for the most health benefits. Many sleeping pills also have a risk for dependence and withdrawal. This is why some people are turning to more natural alternatives to help enhance sleep. Take a look at one surprising alternative for a restful sleep.

Created from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, pulque is Mexico's oldest and most traditional beverage. It is a milky, non-distilled, alcoholic beverage with a yeast-like flavor and thick consistency.

The consumption of pulque goes back as far as the Mesoamerican period, when it was thought to be a sacred drink and was limited to select individuals. When the Spanish invaded Mexico, the consumption of pulque became widespread, and it remained a popular beverage through the 19th century. However, with the introduction of beer, the consumption of pulque was reduced.

Because of certain healthful properties, pulque is making a comeback. Nutritional analysis of pulque shows that it is high in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and minerals like iron and phosphorus. In addition, pulque is a source of beneficial probiotics which makes it good for the digestive system. Perhaps the best health benefit of pulque, however, is its rich source of melatonin.

Due to its alcohol content which is less than beer and its melatonin content, pulque can help induce relaxation in preparation for sleep. Experts recommend that individuals using pulque for this purpose drink it only occasionally, and not as a daily fix for insomnia. Also, because of its alcohol content, it should never be used by pregnant women, children or people with alcohol problems. Pulque is sold in pulquerias (small taverns) in central Mexico, but because of occasional sanitation issues, a canned version may be a better bet, available in grocery stores in Arizona, New Mexico and southern California. Because it is not distilled, pulque does not have a long shelf life.

Here are a few additional recommendations for insomnia:

  • Keep regular nighttime rituals like going to bed at the same time each night.
  • For an hour before bedtime, use soft, orange lighting, and shut down all computers, televisions, and cell phones.
  • Sip herbal teas made from chamomile or linden.
  • Try melatonin supplements.


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