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How to improve your sleep

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

“How can I improve my sleep and feel refreshed every day?”


I could tell you it’s simple, and for some people it will be, but honestly it takes as much hard work as starting a new exercise routine or learning a new hobby.


The number one thing that you need to do to improve your sleep is to make it a PRIORITY.


Poor sleep can be caused by a number of issues including stress, medications, health conditions, noise and light pollutions, hormonal imbalances, late night eating, poor sleeping habits, sleep disorders and shift work.


Poor sleep can:

  • Impact memory and learning

  • Increase our appetite and cause weight gain

  • Impede our decision-making and problem-solving

  • Decrease immune function

  • Cause stress and anxiety

  • Increase your risk of chronic disease


Sleep can be improved by:

  • Lifestyle changes

  • Dietary changes

  • Supplements

  • Exercise



Adequate sleep can help us:

  • Live Longer

  • Enhance our memory

  • Makes us more attractive

  • Keeps weight down

  • Lower Food Cravings

  • Protect us from Disease

  • Ward of colds and flus

  • Feel happier


How much sleep should I get?

You should aim for 8 hours – somewhere between 7 and 9 is ideal. This gives your body time to reset after a busy day and gives you the energy to get through the next day. Many people can function on less sleep but only for short periods of time. If you have less sleep over a long period of time it can lead to health issues.


Lifestyle changes to improve sleep

Improvements in sleep may occur when you start making sleep a priority.


Sleep hygiene is the habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well. You will need to practice good sleep hygiene to improve your sleep, especially if sleep onset is the issue.

  • Have a consistent routine – same bedtime and wakeup time each day

  • Avoid taking long naps – if you are tired, have a 30-minute nap in the early afternoon to recharge.

  • Dim the lights in the evening – have a lamp.

  • Don’t toss and turn, if after 20 minutes you can’t sleep get up, read in low light, do some light yoga or breathing exercises.

  • Eat Well

  • Exercise

  • Get some sunshine

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol

  • Eat Earlier

  • Stay off your devices 30 to 60 minutes before bed.

Make sure you have ideal sleeping conditions:

  • Bedroom is for sleep and intimacy only.

  • Make sure the temperature is just right for you.

  • Have comfortable bedding – mattress, pillow, sheets – replace when necessary.

  • Make sure the room is dark – if it isn’t dark enough for your comfort levels due to street lighting, look at getting block out curtains or blinds.

  • No phones in the room – if you use as alarm, put it where you can reach it.

  • Keep the room free of clutter.


Complementary Therapies

Acupuncture can be beneficial if you have sleep issues. It can help with relaxation to allow you to get to sleep. It may also assist with other health conditions that may be impacting your sleep.


Regular massage may help with sleep onset and maintenance as it relaxes the muscles and reduces stress.


Kinesiology may help improve your sleep by address blocks that cause your sleep issues.


Reduce Stress

Stress is a major course of insomnia, and if this is the reason you cannot sleep, then you need to address the issues that are causing the stress.


Mediation

Meditation will help you relax and help induce sleep if done in the evenings.


Sunshine

Get 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight every day, preferably in the morning to help reset your circadian rhythm. The bonus is that it will also help improve your vitamin D levels.

Nutritional factors that influence sleep

  • Regulating your blood sugar throughout the day. This means regular meals.

  • Ensure you have adequate protein and essential fatty acids at night.

  • Your night-time meals should be lighter and easy to digest.

  • Avoid stimulating foods – such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar

  • Check food allergies, in particular eggs, dairy, gluten, seafood, nuts and these can stimulate your system and cause sleep issues.

  • Have supper if you get hungry during the night. A small snack containing both protein and carbohydrates. Cheese and crackers or soup, hot milk and honey with oatmeal crackers.

Foods and drinks that can help you sleep:

  • Warm milk, honey and nutmeg

  • Kiwi fruit – 2 before bed

  • Fatty Fish

  • Nuts

  • Chamomile Tea

  • Passionflower Tea

  • Water

Foods and drinks that can affect you sleep:


  • Caffeine

  • Alcohol

  • Sugar

  • Fatty foods

  • Spicy foods

  • Excessive carbohydrates


Supplements & Herbs


There are a number of supplements and herbs that will help with sleep. Please speak to your practitioner before taking supplements or herbs to make sure they are the right ones for you and don’t interact with other medications.


Supplements such as GABA, magnesium, taurine, glycine, 5-hydroxytryptophan, melatonin (herbal), zinc and essential fatty acids have been shown to improve sleep.


Herbal teas may be beneficial in helping with sleep. Herbs such as passionflower, chamomile, hops, kava, withania and ziziphus all help with sleep onset and maintenance and also help with reducing stress and anxiety. However, they should only be consumed after consulting with your practitioner to ensure there are no interactions if you are currently taking medications.


Exercise

  • 30 minutes per day

  • None 2 hours before bed, exception is yoga

  • Yoga, walking, weights, running, swimming, cycling, dancing, whatever is most suitable for you.


Do you need help improving your sleep? I offer personalised treatment plans aimed at your overall health and improving your sleep. Book in for a free 15-minute discovery call today to see how I can help

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The #1 thing to improve your sleep is to make sleep a PRIORITY!

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