A good night’s sleep is vital for so many aspects of our life. More daytime energy, less fatigue, better concentration and ability to think, fresher skin and appearance are just some of the more obvious things we associate with good sleep. However, good quality sleep is also associated with healthy weight management (via the production of our key appetite-regulating hormone (leptin) and the down-regulation of our appetite-stimulating hormone (ghrelin)), better detoxification, boosting of immune function and therefore an increased ability to resist infections and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
It is when we are sleeping that many of our body’s “maintenance jobs” get carried out. We are like a factory…when the day shift goes home, the maintenance and cleaning teams get to work, to make everything ready for the next day.
So, here are 9 things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Turn off all electrical equipment (computers, tv, phones, games etc) at least an hour before bed and definitely ban them from the bedroom
- Set yourself a regular go-to-bed time and wake up time and stick to them like glue
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature (cooler is better)
- Try getting some exercise during the day (but not just before bed)
- Eliminate stimulants such as caffeine and sugar, especially from mid-afternoon onwards
- Limit your alcohol consumption
- Eat lightly in the evening…don’t give your body a big digestion task to do when it should be winding down
- Include protein in your evening meal to help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the night (a big dip in blood sugar can be a cause of waking up)
- A warm shower or bath before might help you relax (or try one of my other suggestions for unwinding)
If consistent application of these pointers does not improve your sleep and you are still tired then we may need to look at what else is going on for you. Things like sleep apnoea, adrenal dysfunction, neurotransmitter imbalances (i.e. are you making the sleep hormone melatonin), nutritional deficiencies, diet and more can all contribute to a poor night’s sleep. There are many causes of fatigue. But the good news is, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce or even eliminate these problems.