How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Solving Insomnia for Better Health

sleep blog

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being, but many of us struggle to get enough rest at night. If you’re having trouble getting quality sleep, there are steps you can take to get yourself into the best sleep habits possible, leading to a lifetime of better health and well-being as a result!

When we were kids, we just wanted to stay up late, to feel like grownups. Now we have grown up, we just want to be able to fall asleep quickly like children, and get a good night’s sleep that will allow us to wake up refreshed…

Studies in recent years have found that 1 in 5 adults complain about not getting enough sleep. In the USA, 1 in 25 people take sleeping pills, and around the world some 77% of us do not wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.

Let’s talk about the first line of solutions that can help you sleep better at night!

What is the first line? You can probably guess… nutrition! Well, you already know that our food affects all our health…

What is it important to eat in order to sleep well at night?

  1. Make sure you eat enough protein during the day – the high-quality protein found in ingredients such as legumes – lentils and beans -, nuts and seeds provides us with a large amount of tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted in the body into the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which are essential for good sleep. Plant protein (such as the examples I gave) is rich not only in tryptophan, but also in vitamin B6 and zinc, two components that help convert tryptophan into melatonin. It is recommended not to eat the protein in the evening, as protein meals can be more difficult to digest, which can disturb sleep in itself.
  1. Make sure you consume enough magnesium – magnesium is found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruits. Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for muscle relaxation, and it is also needed for GABA to function – a neurotransmitter with a relaxing action that helps to “turn off” the brain so that we can sleep peacefully.
  2. Complex carbohydrates – such as found in whole grains, among other things – help to balance blood sugar levels by breaking down slowly in the body. Even when we sleep, the body, and especially the brain, still consume sugars to continue their activity, and if the blood sugar levels are too low, the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released, which may wake us up from our sleep. A serving of whole grains at dinner can prevent this.

Apart from nutrition, there are many habits that can affect our sleep, lets go over some of these…

Here are a few habits to help improve your sleep

Creating a sleep schedule

Creating a sleep schedule and sticking to it is vital for your circadian rhythm. Going to sleep and waking up at regular times will help you get the quality of sleep your body needs for better health. It starts with establish a bedtime – Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Try and keep this realistic – if you’re currently going to sleep at 2am then setting 10pm as bed time may be over optimistic.

Unwind before bedtime

Winding down before bedtime is essential in solving insomnia. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve sleep quality, while limiting the amount of time spent awake in bed. Yoga is another good way to calm down and clear your head before going to bed. It also stretches out your body, which often gets stiff from being inactive all day. Maybe go outside and do a bit of grounding? Reading can be a great way to distract yourself from the thoughts that keep you up at night. Pick up an engrossing novel and make sure it’s not your phone or computer so that you’re not tempted by social media or work-related tasks.

Exercise during the day

Make sure you are getting enough exercise during the day. A recent study found that people who used exercise during the day slept better, experienced less stress, and dealt with insomnia better.

The idea is that working up an early sweat reduces the body’s levels of norepinephrine and cortisol, chemicals that are released during stress and linked with insomnia. Exercise also releases serotonin in the brain, which helps regulate sleep cycles, and will will help improve your mood and combat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions which can also lead to insomnia.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night

Avoid caffeine after noon if possible. Caffeine can in some people interfere with the ability to sleep later in the day or night. You should also avoid alcohol because it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and keep you up at night.

Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool

Maintaining sleep hygiene is an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep. We all want to be well-rested, but it can be difficult when we’re surrounded by screens or lights that can disrupt our circadian rhythm. To reduce the likelihood that your sleep will be interrupted, it is important to keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Try to keep the bedroom as a place for sleep and sex, not where you watch the telly or work.

If you’ve tried these tips and they’ve not done enough to improve your sleep, I would say it’s time for individual help, and you can schedule a free consult with me to see how I can help here

Maya x


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