Me all day “Oh I can’t wait to go home and go to bed and sleep. Me at night “Is the earth really round?” Sound familiar?
The importance of sleep is really understated and a lot of people are struggling in that department unaware of the knock-on effect on their health. The body repairs itself at night. In particular, the brain regenerates through sleep. Ever notice that bad mood after a poor night’s sleep? The hormone leptin, the one responsible for keeping us full is also controlled with sleep explaining why those nights after poor sleep, or hangovers it’s like you’re putting food into a bottomless pit wondering why you’re not getting full. Those two small examples alone can have a massive knock-on effect to mood, weight management, diabetes to mention a few.
So how can I improve my sleep?
1. Reduce caffeine 6 hours before bed. Caffeine can stay in the system for up to 6 hours forcing the body to stay in an alerted state.
2. Get some morning sunlight. Direct morning sunlight exposure for ten minutes helps with our wakening response and circadian rhythm helping us to wind down steadily throughout the day.
3. Blood sugars: Eating food high in sugar not long before bed can cause a massive spike and lead to a drop throughout the night causing us to wake up.
4. Limit screens and blue light: Blue light stops the production of melatonin our sleep hormone so limiting them late at night and putting on a blue light filter onto things we can is very important.
5. Exercise, in particular exercise outdoors helps with sleep.
6. Limiting a lot of fluids before bed, in particular for men, in case there’s a prostate enlargement issue. This will stop us from waking having to go to the toilet.
7. Tryptophan an amino acid found in turkey and bananas also helps produce melatonin so adding foods that contain this into the diet daily can help.
8. L theanine - an amino acid in green tea helps with the release of our relaxing hormone GABA. Although it does this it also contains caffeine so try get your cups in early in the day.
9. Magnesium also helps with this hormone and most people find a massive help taking a magnesium supplement or having an Epsom salt bath.
10. Valerian, a herb is a natural sedative and has massive positive feedback for those who struggle getting and/or staying to sleep.