Why we need better sleep
We all know how bad we feel in the morning after a sleepless night. You feel groggy, more irritable and basically don’t want to deal with the world and all its problems… at least until a coffee or 2.
Sleep is so important for our overall health. Whilst we sleep, our bodies are hard at work repairing themselves, fighting infection and inflammation, and processing the events of the day.
During sleep, new brain pathways are formed to help us to learn and remember information. This affects our emotional wellbeing, and how we function and perform at work and in our relationships.
Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes and stroke. People with insomnia have greater levels of depression and anxiety.
To optimise physical and mental health, the right quality and quantity of sleep are necessary. Whilst the standard recommendation is 7-8hrs, everyone is different and will have different requirements depending on their age, gender, activity levels and any pre-existing health conditions.
There are a number of reasons why people don’t get enough sleep including:
• hormonal imbalances
• medication side effects
• emotional and psychological causes such as stress and anxiety
• pre-existing health conditions
• environmental causes such as electronic distractions or noise
Depending on the cause of sleep disturbance, it may be beneficial to seek Naturopathic care. Naturopaths can support you with an individualised nutritional and herbal prescription, as well as diet and lifestyle suggestions.
Tips for better sleep
Here are our Naturopaths top tips to help you sleep better:
– Set a regular bedtime to strengthen the circadian rhythm.
– Create a bedtime ritual whether it be a warm Epsom salt bath, listening to music or sipping a cup of herbal tea.
– Spend at least 15min in the sun everyday to stimulate melatonin production and regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
– Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, nicotine and other drugs, especially before bed.
– Avoid drinking alcohol before bed as it leads to poor quality sleep.
– Avoid electronics as the blue light from devices can disrupt sleep by delaying your melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
– Regular exercise helps improve sleep quality by reducing our stress hormones. However, avoid exercise before going to bed as it can have a stimulating effect.
– Breathe. Taking conscious deep breaths into your belly before bed helps stimulate our parasympathetic (‘calming’) nervous system.
– Eat foods rich in tryptophan such as eggs, chicken, turkey, almonds, cashews and tofu. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid with a crucial role in the production of melatonin and serotonin.
– Magnesium is essential for many bodily functions including helping regulate our nervous system. Eating magnesium rich foods such as avocado, leafy greens, cacao, bananas, nuts and seeds can help improve sleep quality.
Book in with Stephanie, our Naturopath here.