The one thing that many of us crave, few of us get enough of and then when we try to we can't – sound familiar? According to sleepcouncil.org.uk sleep is “the mysterious shift in consciousness that our bodies require every day.” They also state that “it’s vital for our health and well-being, and not only do we function less well when we don’t get enough quality sleep, but it can lead to long-term health problems”.
Sleep is when the body rests and repairs itself so how can you help yourself get a better night's sleep?
Tryptophan is an amino acid which the body uses to convert to serotonin and melatonin – the chemical which makes us sleep. Foods which contain this are: bananas, beef, beans, dairy products, cottage cheese, fish, lentils, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds so using these food as a supper is helpful. Things to try are:
Wholemeal pitta/wholemeal bagel with peanut butter and sliced banana.
Sliced banana spread with almond or cashew butter.
Porridge with some nut butter and banana chopped on top.
Having a bedtime routine can be helpful. Switch off all your electronic devices at least an hour before you want to go to sleep in order to give your brain a chance to switch off and receive the signal that it's time to wind down. Try relaxing in a bath or reading a book. (Epsom salts in the bath are a source of magnesium sulphate – a calming mineral which the body can absorb via the skin).
Try to avoid eating a large meal too close to bedtime, this can cause digestive discomfort and stop your body relaxing.
Keep your bedroom as dark as you possibly can, any source of light may disrupt the body's natural rhythms causing it to wake up just when you need it to do the opposite!
According to Chinese medicine the body needs to be asleep or resting by 11pm in order to fully rest and recover. Try setting yourself a curfew and setting yourself an alarm in order to get into a routine.
If you want more advice on supporting sleep and how it can help your energy and general sense of well-being contact a Registered Nutritional Therapist.
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