Sleep is perhaps the sinlge most important thing for reviving and rebuilding your body. Statistically, most of us don’t always get enough. Some of us
- struggle to fall asleep
- others to stay asleep
- and still others to make time to actually get enough of it!
Pharmaceutical sleep options not the answerAddressing sleep issues with pharmaceutical options creates its own set of problems, so it is worth spending some time investigating natural solutions for it's disturbance.
Lifestyle solutionsOften, lack of quality sleep stems from one or more lifestyle causes, and it is important to address these underlying issues as they can impact more than just sleep, for example lack of sleep may create the following:
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Poor decision making
- Weight issues and other
- Chronic health problems
Foods to include to help you sleepTo help improve your chances of quality sleep, these are the best foods to consume:
- Healthy Fats – such as coconut oil, organic and pasture raised meats, eggs, avocado and butter, all help provide your body with the necessary building blocks to manufacture sleep hormones.
- High Antioxidant Foods – Also important for hormone production and removal of toxins that can prevent sleep. Focus on vegetables, high nutrient fruits, and herbal teas.
- Quality Proteins, especially at dinner – for quality sleep, your evening meal should include proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Eating enough protein at this meal will help prepare the body to enter the sleep cycle.
Foods to avoid to help you sleep
- Sugars – sugars and carbohydrates, especially in the evening will cause a blood sugar spike and crash that will lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. Many people crave carbohydrates (biscuits and cuppa tea anyone?) in the evening, which is a sign of an underlying hormone problem to begin with but eating carbohydrates late at night can cause problems falling asleep or lead to waking in the middle of the night when blood sugar levels drop.
- Caffeine –including tea, coffee and milo or chocolate after 4pm
- Grains – an intolerance to grains can cause physical stress in your body, which alters the hormone cycle and can impede sleep.
- Vegetable Oils – can cause problems in the hormone cycle, as hormones need (saturated) fats for production and giving your body the wrong building blocks for hormones can wreak havoc with hormone production.
Natural nutrients for improved sleepExperiment with these herbs and nutrients to wake refreshed.
- Lemon balm
Further lifestyle changes that will have you in the land of nod
- Exercise – regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep
- Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Research has shown that as little as five minutes per day can improve quality of life, improve sleep and reduce stress levels.
- Take a warm bath before bed time to help you relax and calm your mind, add lavender oil.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, try to wake up at the same time every day to create a consistent routine. Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late.
- During the day increase light exposure by spending more time outside.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable.
- Turn off iPads, TV, phones and strong lights as they can effect melatonin production.
- Do not nap in the afternoon