Sleep is such an important part of our overall wellbeing. In fact, I consider getting adequate sleep to be one of the foundations for great health. Getting enough sleep helps to lower cortisol your stress hormone, it keeps your appetite hormone in check, it supports mental health, your sex drive, hormonal health, your immune system, helps you concentrate and feel more alert throughout the day so you can perform best whether that’s at work, running around after kids, wanting to improve exercise goals.
Many restorative processes occur while we are sleeping, such as muscle growth, protein synthesis, cell and tissue repair, hormone production. If you lack quality sleep your body won't be able to repair and heal itself on a cellular level.
I want you to feel your best, to feel happy, rested and focused, so I’m going to share with you 5 tips with you on how to get a better night’s sleep.
Tip #1 – 1 hour before bed dim the lights and avoid exposure to artificial lights
Yes, artificial lights include your mobile phone, TV, tablets, laptops (o more netflix in bed sorry), they are all very stimulating to your nervous system. If you are watching something it’s best to watch something on a TV which is at a far distance from you. But it’s best to do something like read a book or magazine before bed, meditate, have a bath. Most electronics have a blacklight, this affects your circadian rhythm, which affects the quality of your sleep.
Tip #2 – Enjoy a relaxing tea before bed
Enjoy a sleepy tea or a delicious chamomile tea before bed. It’s a great way to relax. Chamomile tea has naturally occurring chemical compounds that help the body and nervous system relax. Make sure you have a nice organic or good quality tea so you get the full therapeutic benefits of the tea.
Tip #3 – Avoid caffeine after 12 pm
Caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your body for up to 9+ hours. It does vary person to person, but if you're having trouble sleeping try completely eliminating it from your diet for one month, or limit your coffee intake to 1 -2 cups per day, before midday. Also, be conscious of other substances which contain caffeine such as black tea and chocolate. Instead opt for a delicious herbal tea such as peppermint, chamomile, lemon and ginger. Remember caffeine is also found in black teas (english breakfast & earl grey) and also green tea.
Tip #4 – Exercise
Exercise 4-5 times per week. A lot of people tell me they feel wired or anxious at night or their brain is running wild and their body just doesn’t feel tired, well if your body feels physically tired this is a great way to help you get a better sleep. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym for an hour, all it means is focus on movement, move your body at least 4-5 x a week, minimum, 30 minutes is enough. You could go for a moderate-fast passed walk (great for getting the heart rate up), or go for a run, do some yoga, pilates, whatever it is you like to do just make sure you do that at least 4-5 time per week and not late at night within 3-4 hours of bedtime.
Tip #5 – Avoid eating late at night
We all know how we feel when we’ve had a huge meal, lethargic, bloated, uncomfortable. When we eat before bed this raises our body temperature, which is not great for the release of melatonin (our sleep hormone), your body won't secrete melatonin when your body temperature is raised and senses food in the gut. Melatonin and also growth hormone are hormones which are secreted at night. Also, if you feel really hungry before this isn’t good either, so if you are truly hungry opt for a small light snack such as small handful of raw nuts with 1-2 pieces or organic dried fruit such as apricots or medjool dates if you feel like something sweet, but only have it if you actually feel hungry.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below!