Sleep is so important for your overall health and plays an important part in the healing and repairing of body tissues. But how many of us actually get the recommended amount of sleep (about 8 hours by the way)?
I used to sleep like a log – nothing was going to wake me up! But since getting older, my sleep has started to deteriorate and I’m finding that night-time is turning into my over-thinking time. One minute I’m all peaceful dreaming about Chris Hemsworth sipping cocktails in the garden and the next… boom, I’m awake thinking about how I’m going to teach the oxidative system, or if someone took something I said the wrong way at work, or why can’t I just shift these last few pounds… sound familiar? Well, fear not, these 5 things will turn you from a sleep worrier into a sleep warrior!
How to Improve Your Sleep?
This seems to be in a lot of my ‘how to improve ‘x’ blogs’ – getting the hint? Exercise is KING. Anyway… Being physically active requires you to expend energy and therefore helping you to feel more tired.
Studies have shown that exercising regularly (3-4 time a week) can not only improve the quantity of sleep but additionally help to improve sleep quality, increasing the time spent in deep sleep. A regular exercise routine can also help to reduce stress levels – a common association with poor sleep.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but at night it has the opposite effect, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin which help you to relax and get a deep sleep.
Blue light is the worst for this, which smartphones and electronic devices produce large amounts of. There are a few ways in which you can reduce your blue light exposure:
Download an app to block out blue light on your laptop/computer/smartphone
Stop watching TV and heavy usage on your smartphone a couple of hours before bed – I find turning my phone off a couple of hours before bed is strangely calming
Unwind with a Skincare Routine
I find a great way to unwind in the evening is with a skincare routine. The methodical approach to the routine is soothing and it’s a great opportunity for some self-love and making your skin look and feel great! Other ways to unwind can include meditation, mindful colouring or reading a book.
Enjoy a Herbal Tea
I’m partial to a good herbal or fruit tea but trust me when I say chamomile tea is heavenly before bed. The taste is light, it’s caffeine free and is a good little sleep assistant. There’s evidence to suggest that chamomile tea has a sedative effect which helps to calm the nervous system and induce sleep. Let’s be honest, just the act of sitting down with a nice hot cuppa is pretty relaxing in itself!
Eat Foods High in Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral, and one our bodies don’t produce naturally.
Magnesium influences the nervous system by blocking more excitable molecules from binding to neurons, helping to result in a calmer nervous system. Therefore, higher amounts of magnesium present in the body have been found to not only help with getting to sleep, but also helping to achieve a deep and restful sleep.
Most of the time we get enough magnesium from foods such as; green leafy vegetables, dairy, whole wheat, legumes and even dark chocolate! However, if you are having trouble sleeping or not sure if you are getting enough magnesium in your diet, ask your doctor if they think a magnesium supplement would help.