Hello to those who are looking for the answer to their sleep problems.Here is a short blog with some quick and easy things you can do to help you sleep better.
1. Eat Breakfast
Doing this within 30 minutes of waking up ensures that your body gets enough energy to kick start your day. A failure to eat breakfast (and we often see this in those who struggle to get to sleep) means your body will begin to crave sugar and caffeine to give it an energy boost and this will mean that you begin a cycle of ups and downs in your energy levels leaving you chasing caffeine and sugar all day. Dr Neerina Ramlakhan, the author of Tired but Wired (a great book, I would recommend anyone interested in sleep issues to read it) says this about breakfast
“There are these fallacies swirling around that not eating before bed, or not eating lettuce or tuna, can help you sleep,” says Ramlakhan. “But it’s more crucial that you eat breakfast first thing in the morning, in what I call a ‘metabolic window’. It’s a timeframe in which you can give your body an important message. It tells it that in your world there is an adequate supply of food, it can relax, and that it can fall into sleep mode when it needs to.”
Remember when you are having breakfast try and steer clear of cereals that are full of sugar!
2. Don’t Exercise Too Close To Bedtime
This one is quite apt as many of us are charging back to the gym to burn off the pounds we have added over Christmas! Due to the pressures of life many of us work out late into the evening, especially since the advent of 24 hour gyms such as Pure Gym. This means many of us come home late from exercising feeling pretty tired and go straight to bed. You may then find that the sleep you get is pretty bad, with lots of tossing and turning. If you do this you haven’t given your body enough time to wind down, to prepare itself to sleep and to release Melatonin, the hormone that helps your body sleep.
My advice would be to give yourself 2-3 hours after exercise to wind down. You can help this process by doing something that relaxes you; maybe read a book, (nothing too exciting though!) listen to the radio or watch a comedy programme. You can help the production of Melatonin by having a food rich in Tryptophan, such as a banana as you finish exercising. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to Serotonin which help in the production of Melatonin.
Follow this advice and you will sleep better after exercise, which will mean you will recover better. This is because the quality of your deep sleep will improve and this is the sleep stage your muscles repair themselves during sleep.
3. Put Down The Phone! Or The Tablet!
When people talk to me about their sleep issues smartphones and tablets usually comes up. They are bad for two reasons. Firstly when you are on social media or playing a game your brain is in work mode. This means it needs a wind down period before you go to sleep, to allow it to switch off and realise it is time for shut eye.
In addition to this smartphones and tablets emit blue light as do TV’s and other light emitting devices. The issue with smartphones and tablets is that the light source is so close to the eye, ensuring the affects are far greater than from a TV for example. For more info on this have a look at this research here from http://www.pnas.org
To minimise the affects blue light has on you why not try the nifty Twilight App if you have an Android device o f.lux for Apple Devices and PC’s. These reduce your exposure to blue light.
Give these three tips a try and I am sure you will see an improvement in your sleep.
The Sleep Geek