How to improve your sleep in 5 simple steps (and why you would want to)
One of the most common complaints faced by my clients is definitely tiredness and fatigue. There could be so many potential causes for this, and in the first instance I would always direct my client to their GP to have some investigative blood tests to check for any imbalances or medical issues. At the same time though, I will often encourage my client to look at their sleep...
Whether it's an inability to fall asleep easily, or waking up frequently during the night, a bad night's sleep will of course lead to tiredness and fatigue during the day - like jetlag. Particularly in times of stress and anxiety – the current Coronavirus lockdown is a good example – our sleep is the first thing to get affected, leading to a downward spiral of tiredness and potentially leading to other health issues too, as poor sleep compromises the immune system and raises inflammation in the body- something we all want to avoid, not only when there is a nasty virus lurking around!
One of the BEST things we can do for our health is definitely to try and improve our sleep, and here are my top 5 suggestions to help you with this. I often work with my clients on slowly and realistically integrating some or all of these tips into their routines...
1. No screens for AT LEAST 1 hour before bed – but if you really, really must, then wear blue light blocking glasses. Screens, especially at close range (phones, tablets, laptops) emit blue light, which disrupts our circadian rhythms and suppresses melatonin (which is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy).
2. Like babies, we also benefit from a bedtime routine. That means starting to get ready for bed at least an hour before bedtime by winding down – dimming the lights (to promote melatonin production), having an Epsom salt bath or footsoak to help the muscles relax, doing some mindfulness or meditation practice or some deep breathing to slow the heart rate and reduce cortisol (try a free app like calm.com).
3. Sleeping environment - make sure your bedroom is nice and cool at 16-18 degrees, and that it's free of clutter and any work-related papers.
4. No watching or reading the news before bed! The news can lead to an increase in heart rate and stress hormone production - exactly the opposite of what we need to encourage sleep.
5. Try red light at night – for example as a bedside light- as red light is least likely to suppress melatonin production and affect circadian rhythms.
Of course these are just a start.... There is so much more that can be addressed in order to improve your sleep.... interestingly many people don't realise that diet plays a big part! We are all different, with different physiologies, hormones, llifestyles and habits, and what works for one person might not necessarily work for another. That's why it's so important to take a personalised approach.
I take a wholistic approach with my clients - which means looking at the bigger picture. As a nutritional therapist I will analyse your diet and eating habits, but also look at stress levels, lifestyle, and other factors that make up the pieces of the puzzle that is overall health and wellbeing - including your sleep.
Contact me for your free 15 minute consultation to see how I can help you.