Struggling to get to sleep?
Do you find it difficult to get off to sleep at night? Or are you waking up at 4am and then not able to get back to sleep?
These are common problems during perimenopause and also around the time of our periods, but there’s a lot we can do to get a better night’s sleep.
Why is sleep so important?
We need to get 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. Research had shown that getting less than 7 hours sleep a night can increase the risk of picking up infections due to the impact it has on the immune system. Not getting enough sleep can increase levels of inflammation in the body – so is really important for anyone with endometriosis. Sleep also helps our hormone levels re-set. So, it is really important to do everything we can to get a good night’s sleep.
Here are my top tips to sleep well:
Get into a regular routine.
The body likes to have a regular rhythm, so getting up and going to bed at the same time each day really helps your body to know when it’s time to sleep. As tempting as it is to lie in at the weekend if you are tired, this may actually be making the problem worse.
Wind down before you go to bed.
On a similar theme, it’s really important to have a relaxing wind down routine before you go to bed, to signal to the body to start switching off and sleeping. This could be a soak in the bath, reading a book or some gentle stretches or breathing exercises.
Avoid screen time before you go to bed.
Looking at phones or computer screens before bed stimulates the brain and reduces the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone. Try to avoid screen time in the hour before bed or if you have to use a screen, use blue light blocking glasses.
Boost your melatonin with food.
One way we can boost our melatonin levels is with food. Foods rich in tryptophan are converted into melatonin. Good sources of tryptophan are bananas, almonds, cottage cheese, oats, turkey and yoghurt. So, a good bedtime snack is an oatcake with cottage cheese or turkey, a handful or almonds or a banana and yoghurt.
Avoid foods that can keep you awake.
Avoid having a large meal close to bedtime, as your body will be digesting it for a couple of hours. Caffeine and alcohol can be stimulating for some people and lead to a restless night. Try to avoid caffeine from 4pm onwards depending on how sensitive you are to it and instead opt for calming herbal teas that can help make you feel sleepy like chamomile or passionflower.
If lack of sleep is really having an impact on your quality of life, then there are plenty of other things we can try through diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. Book in for a free hormone health review to find out how nutritional therapy can help.
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.