Sleep is essential for our physical health, mental health and our survival. It’s just as important as exercising and eating healthy, so it shouldn’t be neglected. Not sleeping enough has been linked to anxiety, depression, impaired cognitive function and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Here are our top 10 tips on how to improve your sleep quality and quantity:
1. Eat more cherries. Cherries raise levels of the sleep hormone melatonin and several studies have shown that they can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep.
2. A small pre-bed snack containing complex carbohydrates and a little protein can help to encourage sleep. Nut butter on oatcakes is a good option.
3. Limit alcohol. Alcohol disrupts sleep and acts as a diuretic, encouraging the need to wake at night to urinate.
4. Remember caffeine is a stimulant. The effects of caffeine can last up to 20 hours, so some people will have disturbed sleep patterns even when their last cup of coffee was in the morning. It is found in coffee, tea, green tea, chocolate, some soft drinks and some over the counter medicines.
5. Try Valerian tea. Valerian has been shown to help people with insomnia go to sleep and stay asleep.
6. Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom, or at least minimize the frequency.
7. Get your Vitamin D checked. The part of the brain responsible for sleep has a large concentration of vitamin D3 receptors, and the entire sleep-wake cycle is disrupted if the receptors are deficient. Vitamin D3 also influences many other hormonal processes in the body that affect body rhythms, including reproduction, metabolism, digestion and cardiovascular health, all of which influence fatigue and sleep regulation.
8. Minimise light. Even tiny amounts of light from a mobile phone or alarm clock can suppress production of melatonin, the hormone our bodies make to bring on sleep. Invest in a blackout blind.
9. Keep your bedroom cool. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 16 to 20 degrees.
10. Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
So that’s the lowdown on our top 10 sleep tips. Whether it’s Valerian tea, cherries or Vitamin D that works for you, we hope that this Honestly Good advice will have you sleeping like a baby in no time.
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