Are you getting enough sleep?
Today is World Sleep Day. The focus is on getting people to prioritise their sleep in order to maximise their health and wellbeing.
Sleep is our bodies chance to recharge and restore and we need to be getting 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. Getting less than 7 hours sleep a night can affect our immune system and make us more likely to pick up an infection. It can also increase levels of inflammation in the body.
Lack of sleep can increase our appetite, leading to weight gain. It can also affect mood, memory, heart health and blood sugar levels.
More adults are reporting sleep problems due to the disturbances to routine and anxiety caused by the covid pandemic.
Try these tips to help you get a better nights sleep.
- Make sure your environment is right for sleep – make sure your bedroom is not too warm. Try and keep it as dark as possible by using black out blinds or eye masks. If noise is a problem, try some white noise to drown it out.
- Get into a regular routine – going to bed and getting up around the same time each day helps your body to get into a routine of when it sleeps.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the few hours before you go to bed. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, you may have to have your last one at about 4pm to stop it affecting your sleep. Instead try calming teas such as chamomile, passionflower or valerian in the evening.
- Avoid having a large meal in the couple of hours before going to bed, so your body is not still working on digesting your food. If you need a snack in the evening, try a banana or an oatcake with some cottage cheese. This will increase your tryptophan levels which is a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Turn off electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and phones an hour before you go to bed. The blue light from these devices inhibits melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Have a relaxing routine before you go to bed to help your body wind down and prepare for sleep. This could be reading a book, doing some gentle stretches or yoga or some breathing exercises. Try this 15 minute bedtime yoga routine.
- Having a soak in the bath before bed can help. Trying adding some Epsom salts to your bath as the magnesium can help relaxation. Lavender oil is another good option that can help with relaxation and sleep – either added to the bath or as a pillow spray.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.