Good sleep can make you or break you - 17 ways to get better sleep
Sleep is important for many aspects of our life and health. From safe functioning, clearer thinking, more positive food choices, to better performance in the gym, improved recovery, and the maintenance of muscle mass, vitality, and weight. We know that sleep is critical for weight maintenance and hormone balance. A staggering 90% of sleep studies show a positive association between sleep deprivation and weight gain.
Our greatest opportunity for physical healing happens between 10pm and 2am...if we are asleep that is! Our mental clean out and repair of our brain and nerves happens from 1am-4am. Therefore, we can get the most out of our sleep if we are consistently catching ZZZs by 10pm.
Here's some tips for better sleep quality:
- eat your last meal well before you go to sleep – 4 hours for a large meal, 3 hours for a moderate meal, 2 hours for a small meal, 1 hour for a snack
- reduce the size of your portion in your evening meal, especially the amount of meat
- include some carbohydrate with your evening meal – sweet potato, potato, vegetables, brown or wild rice etc.
- avoid sugar, caffeine and other stimulants towards the evening
- try this homemade tea recipe below:
Banana Tea for sleep
Bannana peel is packed with magnesium so try this sleepy tea before bed...
Wash an organic bananna, cut off the ends and cut in half (leave the peel on). Put it in four cups of boiling water and boil it for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the stove and steep it. Add honey or cinnamon to taste. Drink the water loaded with magnesium.
- spend 30 minutes outside each day, reduce or eliminate your use of sunglasses – this will support your circadian rhythm
- have a bedtime routine – this can include a warm bath, stretching, brushing teeth, showering, relaxation strategies
- maintain fresh air flow in your bedroom by opening a door or window
- keep phones, TVs and computers out of the bedroom
- create a relaxing bedroom that you are comfortable in
- practice active relaxation and or meditation – find what works for you, check out progressive muscle relaxation
- try different breathing exercises
- if you need a nap, make it less than 45 minutes, any longer can cause drowsiness and upset sleep-wake patterns
- maintain regular sleep cycles, for example, sleep from 10pm-6am every night, even weekends
- exercise in the morning if you can, or at least before 4pm
- reduce screen time – avoid using computer, phone, TV etc. for at least 30min before bed
- control your lighting environment – reduce your exposure to light at night, both your home and work lighting and blue light from phones, TV and computers. Turn this artificial light off or try lux– a program that removes blue light emission to match the light from your screen to your natural environment.
Getting to sleep - Neurocalm Sleep (Metagenics) is a brilliant product of herbs and oils that supports people to drop off to sleep.
Staying asleep - For those who tend to wake during the early hours of the morning there are other safe, non habit-forming supplements that can help, including HPA Essentials (Metagenics).
All rounder - A good form of magnesium can really support sleep quality and recovery.
It is crucial to establish and maintain consistent sleep routines and cycles. So much of your exercise recovery, weight maintenance and healthy functioning depends on it, now and in the future. If you believe you could benefit from better quality or quantity of sleep, commit to changing your sleep habits. Identify what may be preventing you from achieving great sleep and go to work to resolve this. You and the people around you might just thank you for it!
Written by Dr. Jess Harvey B.Sc. (Anat, Phys), B.Ap.Sci (Comp. Med.), Ma Osteo., Registered Osteopath and Director of Head 2 Toe Health, with multidisciplinary clinics in Brisbane and Gold Coast. We provide Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Massage, Life Coaching and Counselling. We aim to get you as well as possible, as fast as possible, permanently. We believe in a thorough approach to restoring and maintaining health and address many aspects of our lifestyles that can contribute to pain, stiffness, dis-ease and disease. For any further information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07) 3208 8308.
This information is intended as a general guide only and is not specific for any particular condition or situation. Please consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting a nutritional program.