Suggestions for better sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.

The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

A nutritional therapist can help you identify the causes of poor sleep and work with you to create a balance again while recommending the right foods for you. 

Some foods and herbs can also assist you if you are having trouble falling asleep.

Cherries and tart cherries: among many other health benefits, cherries contain significant quantities of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. It is still in season, so it is even easier to get hold of it. If you prefer to have it as a drink, just get a tart cherry juice from your health store and drink a small glass mixed with some water half an hour before going to bed.  

Bananas: also known for their melatonin content, however, it is less significant than cherries. It does have a soothing effect on the body, due to its high potassium content.

Herbal teas: the calming effect of chamomile, cinnamon or valerian root are long known. The best is to have a mix of these herbs (you can find many different products these days) and have a cup an hour before you plan to go to bed.

5 ideas to get a better sleep

1. Minimise or avoid stimulants

  • avoid alcohol 2 hours prior to bedtime
  • avoid caffeine after 2 pm
  • complete any aerobic exercise 3 hours before bedtime

2. Create a calm environment where you can relax

  • try and sleep in a completely dark room. If this is not possible, consider wearing an eye mask
  • turn down the heating to 18C and consider buying a thicker duvet if you are cold

3. Turn off all electronic devices

  • switch off electronic devices 1 hour prior going to bed to help natural melatonin production. Blue light coming from the devices sends a false message to the brain and keeps the body awake (wifi, mobiles charging, etc) If you need to keep using your devices, consider buying blue light block glasses.

4. Create a bedtime routine

  • try and go to bed at the same time every day, so your body gets used to it
  • start habits that relax you, such as reading a book or taking a bath

5. Plan your consumption before sleep time

  • avoid drinking more than half a pint of fluid an hour before going to bed
  • avoid eating heavy or sugary meals 3 hours prior going to sleep

+Do not blame yourself if you are having trouble falling asleep

  • if you can’t fall asleep after 20-30 minutes then don’t stay in bed but go to another room and try to read a magazine or a book
  • if you wake up because of recurrent thoughts, try writing them in a journal. If this does not help, try counselling. Depression might be a factor. 

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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