So often we are being told to ‘get your 8 hours of sleep’ . However, truthfully these days it’s not always as simple as that.
I have struggled with insomnia during different periods of my life. Consequently, what I have come to realise is that my lifestyle, stress levels and eating choices throughout the day all play a role.
One thing I am sure of is that technology and social media are definitely not helping our sleep patterns.
Below I have outlined some of the tricks I have personally used to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Skip the afternoon caffeine hit
Caffeine functions as a stimulant and can stay in our systems for hours. Enjoy your daily caffeine hit before midday and stick to caffeine-free beverages in the afternoon. Dandy chai is a favourite in the JSHealth office – look for caffeine free brands and enjoy a cuppa with almond milk and cinnamon.
Put your legs up against the wall
Yes, this is exactly as it sounds! After a long day, I encourage you to take 10 minutes to lay down, shuffle as close to a wall as is comfortable and then slide your legs up, allowing the weight of your legs to rest on the wall itself. Lay there and focus on breathing in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. This is an incredibly calming pose and soothes our nervous system.
Eat a balanced and wholesome dinner
Consuming a balanced meal that contains protein, fat and a complex carbohydrate source ensures you are not going to bed uncomfortably hungry. Ideally try to have dinner 2-3 hours pre-bedtime so your body has time to digest the food and rest.
Switch off from technology 1-2 hours pre-bed time
This can be hard at first but it is so important when it comes to sleep. Our phones and laptops emit blue light which can disrupt our sleep patterns. Disconnecting from social media and our emails can also be incredibly grounding and allows us to be present with ourselves and our loved ones.
Enjoy a cup of herbal tea
Enjoying a cup of tea at night supports sleep in 2 complimentary ways. Firstly, many herbal teas contain compounds that help to calm our nervous system. Secondly, the simple ritual of taking time out to stop and make a tea can be a calming process in itself. When picking a herbal tea make sure to opt for a caffeine free version. Some delicious sleepy teas include those that contain chamomile, lavender, passionflower or lemon balm. Tip: make sure to stick to 1-2 cups otherwise your restful sleep may be interrupted by a night-time toilet break!
Top Tip: Magnesium Glycinate
For those that struggle with insomnia or difficulty falling asleep, supplementing with magnesium can be very beneficial during times of stress. If you have implemented the above steps and are still struggling, consider talking to your practitioner about magnesium for sleep support.
You can find more articles full of nutrition and lifestyle tips in the JSHealth App, along with access to our unique in-app messaging system where you can text a Nutritionist in the JSHealth Clinic. You can download the app on iTunes for less than $3 a week and we also offer a free 7-day trial.