It is fair to say that all of us at some point in our lives have experienced sleepless nights or suffered from insomnia. I certainly have in the past when I was younger. Living in a city like London can often be very stressful leading to anxiety. It is so important that we switch off when we go to bed. Overthinking is not good and the more we can’t sleep the more we tend to analyse and stress as to why we are not falling asleep. Prolonged lack of sleep can have drastic effects on our health. It can leave us feeling confused affecting our day to day performance leading to inflammation in the body and lowering our immune system.
The reason for restless nights vary from person to person. Some reasons include: Stress and anxiety, Lack of calcium and magnesium (nature’s tranquilisers), stimulants like caffeine, over thinking, depression, bladder problems, certain diseases like over active thyroid, Here below are a few tips I hope will help.
Keeping a sleep routine
It is important to go to bed at the same time every day and wake up in the mornings at the same time. When I was suffering from insomnia I was going to bed at all sorts of different times. It is important to let the body get used to the the same sleep routine. If at first you find this difficult, do not over stress that you are not falling asleep, simply get up and relax for 10 minutes, You can meditate or listen to some classical music. No going online or chatting on whatsapp. You want to relax your mind not stimulate it.
Foods to avoid and foods to include
Avoid having massive meals late at night. This not only will disrupt your sleep but it will place an enormous strain on the digestive system. You have to go to bed that you are feeling not too hungry and not too full. Caffeine is a big stimulant and should not be consumed after 5pm. Caffeine is not just present in coffee and regular tea. It is found in coca cola, chocolate, cocoa and energy drinks. So eating chocolate at night in front of the tv is not such a great idea. Avoid eating foods that are hard to digest like cheese late at night. Alcohol is another stimulant that should be avoided. Most people have alcohol to help them distress when in actual fact it does the opposite. You may feel it helps you fall asleep but it will only make you wake up 2-3 hours later feeling dehydrated and thirsty.
Friendly foods to include in your diet: Avocado, fish, turkey, beans, bananas, wheatgerm sprinkled onto your porridge, gluten free oats. You can even have a little bowl of porridge with a chopped banana in the evening, You do not have to have porridge only for breakfast. Drink more herbal teas like camomile tea.
Switch off all technology
In todays modern world this is rather challenging. I for one spend far to much time on my phone and computer. Most people after a long day at work, come home have a bite to eat and go online straightaway or watch tv. In order to get a good night’s sleep it is essential to relax a few hours before bed. This means no lap tops in bed. No whatsapp with friends, no tv. You want to create a relaxing bed time ritual. Going online will only stimulate your mind even more making you more awake. You want to fall asleep remember.
Creating a relaxing bed time environment
This is carrying on from the above point. So you have switched off your mobile phone, closed your computer for the day and switched off your tv. Now you are ready to relax. I would suggest a relaxing bath with epsom salts. This is truly relaxing before bed. Do not have a shower. Showers are for the mornings when you want to wake up. Play some soothing classical music. You can have music for every mood and bed time music should be relaxing so no techno. Make sure your room is dark and comfortable. You do not want it to be too cold or to warm.
Manage your stress levels
This is extremely important. Some people keep on going until they completely exhaust themselves. You must leave your work at the office. Your mind must switch off. No bringing work papers to bed. You must learn to delegate tasks. Do not try to do everything by yourself. If you do not manage your stress it can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Regular exercise every day can help you de stress especially yoga. Regular exercise will make you feel and look great. However do not do any exercise before going to bed as you will be too energised
I hope the above helps. I am a qualified nutritional therapist so if you would like an initial consultation please email me.