Lately it seems nearly everyone I meet has at least occasional issues with sleep. I say nearly because there’s always one annoyingly gifted sleeper, isn’t there?
They fall asleep anywhere, never wake worrying at 3am and can sleep indefinitely on the weekend.
You have to wonder: why is their conscience so clear?
Stress impacts sleep
Apart from good boys and potential psychopaths, most experience this horribly common problem of modern life.
Even when you go to bed early, planning 8 hours before work, your busy brain can’t drop off.
Or you wake at 3am and struggle to get back to sleep, too busy worrying, clock-watching and imagining how crappy the next sleep-deprived day will be.
Luckily, there are simple ways to get back in your sleep groove using food, lifestyle, and yes…A QUICK FIX!
There’s a trend online for sharing one’s productivity from 5am-9am. It’s supposed to be a sort of life hack - just get up 2 hours earlier and you too could go for a 10k, clean the entire house, bake fresh bread for breakfast and 5 more things that make every other human feel like a hopeless sloth.
Why you need more good quality sleep
Aside from the fact I can fill any number of hours in the morning with pure faff (1 hour or 4 hours, I will only achieve drinking tea and getting dressed, and still have to run for the train) it’s potentially bad for your health to reduce the hours you’d naturally sleep, because that's maintenance time!
What your body does when you’re asleep
Our bodies are up to their own busy-work when we’re asleep:
removing free radicals that accumulated in the brain during the day
maintenance of the body’s regulation of appetite hormones and blood sugar levels
Hence insomnia’s linked to difficulties with appetite & weight management (plus don’t we all crave sugary snacks for quick energy when overtired?).
How to get better sleep naturally
Quick fixes when stress impacts sleep
Busy brain, whirring thoughts, difficulty shutting off…..what to do if a sensible routine is not enough?
30 minutes before you want to sleep, take 2 capsules of Night Support as part of your wind down routine.
Unlike some prescription sleeping pills, it isn’t addictive. You don’t need to take it every day to be effective, it works as and when needed.
It’s sedative-free, instead working by promoting your calming neurotransmitters, so doesn’t cause morning drowsiness.
Food and drink to have before bed
Balanced meals for better sleep
Maintenance insomnia (waking during the night) can be caused by low blood sugar.
If that sounds like you, ‘dine like a pauper’ isn’t the one. Have a rounded evening meal that includes protein for satiety.
Poultry, fish, beans, dairy, and lentils are sources of tryptophan, an amino acid needed to produce calming serotonin and sleepy melatonin (hence all adults fall asleep on the sofa after a roast dinner).
Don’t eat right before bed though, it’s still better to eat as early as possible because of aforementioned maintenance time.
Cut the afternoon caffeine if you can’t fall asleep
Some people can drink coffee before bed but I’m definitely not one of them. Even tea after about 2pm will mess me up.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try cutting caffeine in the afternoon, it might solve the problem.
How does exercise affect your sleep?
Intense exercise in the evening can negatively impact your sleep, but daily movement is essential - have you noticed that after a sedentary day, you’re fidgety or wakeful at night?
Sort out your lights
Our Circadian rhythm (the 24 hour cycle of the body) is partly regulated by light.
Melatonin (a sleepy hormone, at its highest during the night) builds in the evening and dissipates with bright morning light. That’s why people use melatonin as a medication to deal with jetlag (only available on prescription in the UK though).
- Ensure you have blue light filters active on your mobile and computer in the evenings, and can you dim the screen? Our TV also has eye comfort settings.
- Don’t turn the lights on if you get up to use the loo. That’s simple where I live because of light pollution - even in the middle of the night there’s visibility. But if you have blackout blinds (or live somewhere there are visible stars) get a little night light for the bathroom.
Screen free wind down before bed
For a mental wind down, allow a calming period before bed - TV off, and stop scrolling stressful news and social media .
We weren’t allowed bedroom TVs when I was growing up, which of course I thought was monstrously unfair at the time, but really see the value now.
- enjoy a relaxing shower using products with calming lavender essential oil (synthetic fragrances don’t count)
- take your Night Support or Vital Minerals Magnesium supplement before bed
- try topical magnesium in the form of bath salts or oils/lotions applied to the skin after showering
Hope this helps!
We all have fluctuations in sleep quality. When you're struggling, consistency is key.
Keep going to bed on time, keep eating well, keep taking your supplements.
Last updated: 3rd November 2022