We all want to have the perfect night’s sleep, and to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go each morning. Sadly, a lot of us don’t feel that way. In fact, 45% of the global population have a problem sleeping. Sleeping well for a sufficient length of time each night is very important for our physical and mental health, as a lack of sleep can lead to reduced attention and focus, high blood pressure, and poor immune health.
A good sleep routine, or ‘sleep hygiene’ can help increase the chance of a better night’s sleep as our habits before bed can have a large impact on how well we sleep. Follow these 5 tips to maximise your chance of getting the best sleep possible each night.
1. Scrap the screens
You have probably heard that screens before bed should be limited and as difficult as it might be, limiting screen use is crucial to getting a well-rested sleep. At least 30 minutes before you sleep (but ideally more), put away the phone, television, laptop, or other screens you may be using. The bright lights from technology interferes with our sleep/wake hormones making it harder to fall asleep and wake up the next morning. Similarly, house lighting can affect these hormones too, so it is recommended to dim the lights by using a dimmer bedside lamp instead.
2. Avoid large meals, alcohol, and coffee before bedtime
This one might seem simple but eating a big meal right before you go to bed isn’t the best idea. This is because it can be difficult to sleep when the gut is actively working to digest food. Eating a balanced dinner 2 to 3 hours before bed is ideal, as it gives the gut plenty of time to digest and absorb the nutrients from the meal, but ensures you won’t wake up hungry in the night.
Additionally, be mindful of coffee and alcohol intake. Caffeine is known known as stimulant drug, which can disrupt you from having a quality sleep. Caffeine should be avoided in the 6 hours prior to sleep for most people, however those who are extra sensitive should limit their intake even further.
Alcohol also has some stimulant affects but is in fact a depressant drug. Consuming alcohol may make you feel like you sleep better, however, sleep quality has been shown to be much poorer after alcohol consumption. Limit alcohol consumption to a maximum of 3 nights a week to maintain a good sleep routine.
3. Magnesium supplement
Magnesium is one of the most recommended supplements as it is essential for so many reactions and responses in the body. In particular, magnesium is favourable for those suffering with sleep issues.
Magnesium is involved in the stress response and relaxation of all the muscles in the body. It also regulates neurotransmitter pathways (connecting the nervous system and the brain), and regulates the hormone melatonin, which is the body’s natural sleep hormone. This is important for a good night’s sleep, as many people find that aching muscles, stress, or anxiety is what keeps them up at night.
Leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oats and cashew nuts are rich sources of magnesium, however, most of us don’t get enough magnesium from our diet, so a supplement can correct any deficiencies that may occur.
4. Herbal tea with calming herbs
Herbs have been used for centuries to manage a variety of different conditions, including sleep disturbances. Herbs such as chamomile, passionflower, and lavender are common relaxants and can help to calm the body and put it into the parasympathetic state. This helps to lower blood pressure, the heart rate and breath, as well as promoting digestion. Having these in a herbal tea blend before bed is a simple way to reap the benefits. We have a great variety in store at Nourish Health that the staff highly recommend, so come and chat to us about what our favourites are!
5. Be consistent
Consistency with your sleep habits is important as our body loves routine. Be consistent with the time that you go to bed and the time that you rise in the morning. Try to wake up within a half an hour time frame each day and get some sunlight first thing as this will help regulate the circadian rhythm (the body’s natural clock).
These 5 tips are simple, yet very effective if followed routinely. Of course there will be some people who may need further assistance with their sleeping habits, and seeing a Nutritionist can help massively in this area. You can book a consult with our in store Nutritionist here, and finally, below are some of our recommended products for a good night’s sleep that are stocked at Nourish Health.