Stop Counting Sheep: 5 Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important to our overall health. In fact, it is so important, we spend about one-third of our lives doing it! Sleep gives our bodies the ability to work on healing and repairing without interruption. It is when our bodies will heal damaged cells, synthesize hormones, repair tissue, undergo liver detoxification and so much more.
Here are 5 helpful tips to improve overall health by getting that restful night’s sleep you’ve been longing for.
1. Eat for Sleep
Diet can play a huge role in sleep regularity and function. If we eat a diet high in refined and processed foods, our digestive systems become a literal battlefield and our livers are left screaming. When our body is waging a war trying to digest the food that we are consuming, proper sleep hormones will be impeded and we won’t surrender to sleep.
I suggest eating a whole foods diet, full of fibre, proper nutrients and vitamins that will actually help you fall asleep deeper and fuller. In particular, magnesium is a precursor to melatonin, the sleep hormone, and is great at inducing that sleepy state, as well as relaxing tense muscles for a better night’s sleep. Look for it in magnesium rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds or try a supplement like Natural Calm.
2. Manage Stress
City life is all about being on the run. There’s barely anytime to slow down with work deadlines, family life and financial pressures.
If our cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are too high when we lay down for bed, this will have a huge impact on sleep patterns. Try to manage your stress with simple tools such as tuning into your breath or taking a hot bath with epsom salts (hello more magnesium!) Check out our stress management post for more tips.
3. Get into a Routine
Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday is key for normal sleep cycles. When you establish a routine, your body will begin to produce a critical sleep hormone, melatonin, on schedule. This will help you feel tired around your scheduled bed time, and when it’s time to wake up, your body will awaken on its own. Try creating a night time routine for yourself to get melatonin production going: an hour before bed begin shutting off all electronics, dimming the lights and reading a good book.
4. Ditch the Stimulants
Caffeine is a stimulant that can have a great effect on sleep. Did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for 6 or more hours after consuming it? To ensure it’s out of your system in time for bed, is a good idea to consume caffeinated beverages and foods (including chocolate) before noon.
At the same time, try and avoid alcohol close to bedtime as this will also affect your sleep quality in much the same way caffeine does.
5. Move That Body
If you are having trouble sleeping, try adding more movement to your routine. This can include taking a walk, practicing some yoga, or going to the gym. Studies have shown, when individuals suffering from insomnia included some form of daily movement into their lives, they experienced fewer symptoms and slept better.
And finally- always make it a priority to get enough sleep. This means getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. This will give the body time for rest and regeneration, giving you the energy you need to take on life!
Marina Dimitrova is a Holistic Nutritionist at our 99 Roncesvalles location. She began her journey in nutritional health during a time when she was dealing with digestive issues. When she decided to remove meat and dairy from her diet, her health issues began to clear up. After graduating from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, her focus is teaching nutritional knowledge to children at an early age so they can grow to live a long and healthy life.
Klein, Sarah. (January 5, 2016). 10 Fascinating Things That Happen While You’re Sleeping. http://www.prevention.com/health/what-happens-during-sleep
Fedders, Emilie. (December 14, 2015). SLEEP: Why do we sleep one third of our time?. http://www.technologist.eu/why-do-we-sleep-one-third-of-our-time/
Passos, Giselle Soares. (June 2012). Is exercise an alternative treatment for chronic insomnia?. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370319/