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Not Getting A Good Night Sleep? What To Do And Avoid!

by Daen Heuston | 22nd August 2016

 

There are various possible reasons for not getting a good night sleep. From a bad pillow, noise outside your window to anxiety, stress and the list goes on. However, what you may have eaten or had to drink the night before can affect your sleep deeply too.

The main reason we care so much about a good sleep is that lack of sleep can cause damage to you and your body, as well as what it could lead to long term. Studies have shown sleep deprivation can reduce insulin sensitivity and raise levels of CRP in the blood, an indicator of inflammation and stress. These two things alone point towards an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Now that you know a bit more and are probably eager to improve your sleep, here are my recommendations as a nutritionist to get a good night sleep, and what to avoid and improve to get back to your sweet dreams:

The obvious first

1. Get into a sleep routine

Go to bed at the same time each night. Try and get into that routine to go to bed and get up at the same time in the morning, too. This applies on weekends as well! Whilst a little extra sleep on Sunday morning won’t hurt, sleeping way past your normal waking time can throw out your body clock for Monday morning. This means you won’t be starting your week at your freshest.

2. Your surroundings matter

A dark, quiet and tidy bedroom will make a huge difference. It may seem obvious but preparing for a good night sleep is important.

3. Consider putting your gadgets away

No screen time at least 1hr before bed. This includes TV, mobile phones, iPads/tablets and computers. Meditation helps a lot of people to calm down so this could be something for you to look into.
Also, get some sunlight, or at least daylight, in the morning (without sunglasses) before 10:30am. This helps tell your body it’s daytime and keeps your circadian rhythm and melatonin production in check.

Nutrition & Fitness: The “I told you so”

4. Coffee. There is a time limit, I’m afraid

Avoid caffeine after midday if you can. A herbal tea, like camomile, may help you wind down after work rather than adding that extra caffeine to your body.

5. Fitness has an impact on your sleep

Regular exercise actually helps you in getting a good night sleep. However, it is recommended not to exercise later than 1hr before bedtime.

6. Your late heavy meal lets you down

The Spanish do it, yet it’s an easy and helpful one to avoid! A big, heavy meal too close to bedtime. Let’s just say that lasagna may not be your best option!

7. It’s getting serious now

Increase tryptophan-rich foods in your diet. Have a banana after dinner. Turkey is full of it and you can also find some in dairy (if you tolerate it) and walnuts.

 

Voila! I hope the above tips help and please get in touch if you have any questions. We would love to hear what has helped you and what you’re working on.

 

Daen x
Daen Heuston | Co-founder Vitality+Awesomeness and  Holistic Nutritionist & Wellbeing Personal Trainer at Nuffield Health Shoreditch, London.

 

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