The importance of sleep is by no means a new concept. Well documented and felt first hand by many of us, a poor night’s sleep will see a drop in our levels of concentration, productivity, and energy, whilst our stress levels increase and we are more vulnerable to weight gain and poor immune function. Yes, sleep is essential. Though knowing this can add extra stress when we aren’t managing to get enough of it. Oh, the vicious cycle!
Of course, we cannot control the noise from our neighbours, children waking in the night, or people walking and talking outside of our homes. However, there are some things that we can control and that are proven to support a good night’s sleep. As a nutritional therapist, I educate clients about the way food supports good health, but I also keep a keen eye on general good health habits with a holistic approach to nutritional therapy. Here I share some of the best tips to getting a good night’s sleep.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.1 – Put Technology Away at Bedtime
You need to associate your bedroom with sleep, rather than the flashing of your phone or other ‘blue light’ screens. Blue light screens include laptops, phones and tablets, and they inhibit our melatonin production – the sleep-inducing hormone. You can learn more about blue light with the help of Healthline here. There are night time screen apps with can soften the light to an orange or yellowy glow, but putting away any technology with similar back light and the ability to distract you from sleep is an easy first step in how to get a good night’s sleep.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.2 – Try Not to Nap
When we’ve had a terrible night’s sleep, it can be tempting to catch up during the day. However, in doing so you risk disrupting your natural body clock and finding that you can’t get a good sleep for yet another night. If you do feel the need to nap, ensure it is for no longer than 30 minutes.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.3 – Be Aware of What and When You Eat
There are a few things to take note of here. In general eating a large meal late into the evening will not help your body prepare for sleep. We also need to be aware of the things we are consuming during the day. Food and drink that is high in sugars or caffeine can affect our bodies well into our sleep hours. You can find lots of healthy recipe inspiration for breakfast through to evening meals by following this link.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.4 – Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Many people use a tipple of something to wind down ready for sleep. It is true that alcohol does cause drowsiness and can help people to relax, but it can cause a lot of problems when trying to get that all-important good night’s sleep. Alcohol can impact the quality of sleep, causing us to wake up during the night, perhaps making us need to go to the toilet or get a glass of water due to dehydration.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.5 – A Sleep Friendly Environment
Preparing your room for bedtime is one of the fundamental tips for getting a good night’s sleep. If you have light coming into your room for an interfering outdoor lamppost, consider investing in some blackout curtains. A comfortable temperature is also really important for a good sleep – so don’t whack up the heating too high! Keeping blankets on or by your bed can help you to easily control the temperature during the night.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.6 – Get into a Regular Routine
This isn’t only about going to bed at the same time each night. It includes your evening routine; what time are you working until? Are you doing exercise too close to bedtime? What do you do after your evening meal? By consciously choosing activities that can help you to relax, you can create a routine which will allow your body to recognise that it is nearing the time to sleep. The NHS offers some good advice on how to wind down in their blog.
Get a Good Sleep Tip No.7 – Don’t Stress When You Can’t Sleep
If you are struggling to get to sleep, don’t stay in bed worrying. Get up, make a drink, do some reading or writing, listen to some soft music – but of course, try to keep your fingers away from your phone, laptop, or the TV remote.
There you have it, 7 of the best tips to get a good night’s sleep. To discuss how your diet might be impacting your sleep and your energy levels during the day, get in touch.
And to all, sweet dreams.