Since the start of lockdown, I have had a number of discussions with clients regarding their sleep, or rather lack of it !
Many people are going to bed later and later, waking up several times in the night, waking up with anxiety, or feeling groggy upon waking. Many studies have shown less than 7 hours sleep per night could make you 3x more
likely to develop colds plus a wide variety of health issues, ranging from anxiety, depression, poor cognition, fatigue, and low immunity, to an increased risk of stroke and coronary artery disease
Top tips for better sleep !
- Create a routine with a regular sleeping pattern (e.g. 10pm-7am each night).
Journal before bed to clear and calm your mind.
- Make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary – if your desk is in there, try to move it to another room if you can. If working from home is going to be your reality for the months to come, it is imperative to keep ‘work’ and ‘home life’ separate.
- Increase your daylight exposure e.g. light box for waking (such as Lumie), walk or run before work or on your lunch-break, evening walk to watch the sunset.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet room – e.g. blackout blind, ear-plugs, eye-mask.
- Increase daily movement outside to daylight exposure as well as physical activity, such as an early morning walk in the park.
- Adjust the timing and frequency of your eating to ensure balanced blood glucose levels. Aim for 2 or 3 well-balanced main meals rich in good quality fats, protein, and plant fibre, minimise snacking, and make sure to consume all food within a maximum 12 hour eating window (e.g. 7am-7pm).
- Reduce your evening exposure to blue light. Avoid technology at least 1 hour before bed and engage in a non-tech, calming mindful activity instead e.g. board-game, aromatherapy bath.
- Minimise daily intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, all of which can disrupt sleep quality. Opt for healthy alternatives, such as herbal tea, a glass of chilled kombucha, and naturally sweetened snacks respectively instead.
- Find a relaxation technique which you love and would enjoy practising on a daily basis, such as yoga, meditation, gardening, singing, reading fiction, jogging, or having a bath. Apps such as Calm and Headspace provide guided meditations and can help with a restful sleep.
Supplements for better sleep:
- Magnesium has been used for centuries for its calming properties.
- Vitamin B12 can potentially improve sleep, daytime wakefulness, and mood upon waking, by supporting melatonin synthesis ( sleep hormone)
- Tryptophan is used to make serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
- Lemon balm for its calming properties
- L-Theanine can increase the production of alpha waves (associated with relaxation)
- Taking probiotics may be another way to help you manage stress, therefore promoting healthy sleep. Certain strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, can produce GABA[xviii] and also influence serotonin
If on medication always check with your GP or myself prior to taking supplements:
For further information on improving your health, diet and nutrition contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nutritional Therapist / Food Sensitivity Tester