More and more of us are complaining of insomnia and difficulty sleeping than ever before. It is recommended that we sleep for between seven and nine hours a night, but research shows that only one in three people are hitting those numbers. Our collective lack of sleep is leading to inflammation, weight-gain, lowered immunity and a whole host of health problems. So, what can we do to get a better night’s sleep?
How important is sleep?
Better quality sleep is desirable for several reasons. A good night’s sleep is fundamental to mental processing, metabolic function, hormone regulation and appearance. Getting by on next to no sleep is fast falling out of fashion as something to brag about, and the benefits of sleeping more soundly and for longer are finally getting the airtime they deserve.
If you are wanting to boost your sleep pattern, you will need to take into consideration the way you live your life more generally. Everything from diet to exercise and taking the right supplements, to limiting your screen time, managing underlying stress levels and tossing out that lumpy old mattress can impact your ability to relax and unwind before bed.
Dedicating time to winding down is crucial. You can’t go from ‘on’ to ‘off’ just like that. Perhaps your devices can, but you are a human being and things are a little more complicated for you.
You need to create a bedtime ritual: something that helps you to release the stresses of the day while simultaneously signalling to your body and mind that it is time to take it down a gear and prepare to sleep. This could be anything from taking a bath, reading a couple of chapters of a book, lighting some candles, enjoying a gentle stretching session. If you want to wind down and switch off for the night, parking your mobile phone, tablet and computer at least two hours before your head hits the pillow is key. The blue light that emanates from these devices can adversely affect the body’s internal clock and slow the release of melatonin - the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep–wake cycle.
Focus on sleep-promoting foods
A great diet can enhance the quality of your sleep, whereas poor food choices can really mess with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Some great sleep-promoting foods to eat in the evening include:
Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and brown rice to boost sleep-promoting serotonin
Magnesium-rich nuts. Almonds and walnuts are great choices
Lean proteins like turkey and low-fat cottage cheese which are also great sources of serotonin-boosting tryptophan
Certain fruits and fruit juices. Bananas, kiwi and tart cherry juice all contain melatonin
If you’re craving something sweet, why not try this healthy homemade ice cream recipe?
It is important to note that when you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar should not be consumed in the second half of the day to ensure that they are metabolised before bedtime. It’s also a good idea to stop eating at least two hours before bed to give your digestive system the time it needs to process what you’ve eaten before switching off for the night. Failure to do so can result in sleep onset latency and a seriously disturbed sleep. If you really need something, try sipping on a chamomile or passionflower tea, both of which promote relaxation and a better night’s sleep.
Make sure you’re getting enough exercise
Numerous studies have shown that getting regular exercise can make it easier to both fall asleep and stay asleep. Whilst some people find that exercising late the day can ramp up energy levels right when you want to be winding down, recent research has dispelled the myth that exercising late in the day negatively impacts sleep, and even suggests that evening exercise might be preferable if looking to enhance sleep. Other studies have demonstrated the importance of daily exposure to sunlight in improving sleep quality.
Sleep Alpha* Deep Sleep + Full Restoration is a powerhouse is sleep support, taking you from groggy to rested in just one night. Ingredients including Magnesium, Lemon Balm, Zinc, Hops, Choline, Vitamin B6 & L-Tryptophan are going to put your body is the perfect biological state to enjoy a restful regenerative sleep.
Create a ‘zen den’
Humans sleep best in a calm and cool environment. Numerous studies have shown that people sleep best when in a room that has been heated to between 15 and 18°C. Open the window a crack and get double benefits from the natural replenishment of air throughout the night.
Keeping your bedroom clean and tidy, prioritising calming colours, purchasing temperature control linens for your bed and replacing that old lumpy mattress are all musts. It’s also a great idea to banish all screens from the bedroom (you can always buy yourself an old-school alarm clock). Your bedroom should be somewhere where you feel serene, and ultimately enjoy being.
It is important to associate your bedroom with sleep so try to avoid spending time in your bedroom during the day if possible and avoid staring at the ceiling when you can’t sleep - get up, go to another room, and don’t return to your bedroom until you are tired.
The bottom line is that sleep is just as important as diet or exercise when it comes to establishing a great wellness routine. Deep Sleep + Full Restoration is the ultimate supplement to support you on your journey to balance and wellbeing, and in becoming the best version of yourself, and boosting your sleep is paramount to health.