World Sleep Day 2021
Sleep is extremely important when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Lack of sleep can have a knock on effect on our general mood, motivation, diet and also our hormones. With World Sleep Day coming up this month, here are my top 5 tips to a more restful sleep.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
Caffeine is a stimulant that has a half life of around 6 hours per cup. This means that even by bedtime, you still have about 1/4 of the caffeine content in your system, which could impact your sleep. Switch to herbal teas instead - try Pukka or Teapigs. If you are someone that feels exhausted without that hit of caffeine then I would encourage you to look at your diet first to understand where you are falling short. This leads me nicely onto my next tip.
This is an essential amino acid found in poultry, fish, milk and eggs that is required to make Serotonin (our happy hormone). Serotonin influences sleep, cognition and mood. If you struggle with insomnia and are on a predominantly plant-based diet, it can be harder to obtain but sources include tofu, nuts, seeds and oats. Increasing your consumption of these foods may help to improve your sleep.
Don't skip carbohydrates
Our body's preferred fuel source is carbohydrate so we really need to ensure that we are supporting our body to function efficiently with these. Carbohydrates also aid Tryptophan to reach the brain so it is important to eat both to optimise sleep. Carbohydrates to focus on eating are whole food sources such as vegetables (about 6-8 portions), fruit (2-3 portions) and whole-grains (about 1/2 cup 2-3 times per day.
Reduce screen time
Blue light emitted from screens disturbs the production of Melatonin (our sleep hormone). My tip to manage this is to use the 'night mode' function on Apple devices, which reduces the blue light emitted or to purchase some blue light blocking glasses such as these. I also suggest to clients to avoid phone use after 9pm and to get into the habit of winding down after this time.
It can be really helpful to get into the practice of following a bed-time routine. For example, take a bath using some essential oils and magnesium flakes. I love these from Aromatherapy Associates and BetterYou. Light some candles and complete a 10 minute meditation. For those trying to conceive or pregnant, Expectful is good otherwise Calm is a good option. For all things natural, I love Neom and recently purchased their Perfect Night's Sleep Magnesium Body Butter, which is super relaxing with a calming scent.