It may be wintertime with longer, darker nights, but it doesn’t necessarily that mean you are sleeping well. Too much Party Time? Or too much stress, and sugar….
Approximately one third of the UK population suffers from insomnia – defined as a prolonged, and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate, uninterrupted sleep.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how many hours we should be getting each night, and there’s still much scientific debate over why we need to sleep at all; what we do know though is that sleep is essential for life and the effects of going without can seriously affect your health.
You only have to try going without sleep for a night to see how devastating this can be on your ability to function, particularly with regard to mental focus and mood. Regularly getting enough sleep also plays a significant role in brain development. Emotional and physical health are affected by lack of sleep too, with stress, high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalance and obesity linked to sleep deprivation.
Many people resort to alcohol or over the counter sleeping pills to attempt to restore their sleeping patterns, however, taking a more natural approach where you address the underlying causes can deliver long term success rather than a short term solution or ‘quick fix’.
Here are some key nutrients to support balanced sleep:
Magnesium (my favorite mineral!!) – often referred to as nature’s tranquiliser, is a key mineral for restful sleep that is commonly missing from Western diets. It is an essential co factor for many enzymatic reactions, especially those involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Low magnesium levels have been associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders. Magnesium is best supplemented in bisglycinate, citrate or chelated form, (just beware it’s of laxative effect).
Also found in green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach), almonds, walnuts, buckwheat, cashews, brazil nuts, soybeans, tofu, coconut flesh, brown rice.
Take a relaxing Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) bath before bed for transdermal absorption.
L-Tryptophan – An essential amino acid, present in virtually all plant and animal proteins. Our bodies use L-tryptophan to make serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, which plays an important role in emotional stability and sleep patterns, low levels of which can lead to a disruption and restless sleep. L-tryptophan can be taken in supplemental form 5HTP (but not in conjunction with ant-depressant meds).
Also found in Bananas, turkey, poultry, chocolate, red meat, eggs, fish, sesame, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, spirulina, oats, yogurt
Key Dietary & Lifestyle Changes to Support Balanced Sleep:
1.Get Moving – People who exercise regularly are more likely to sleep well too. Making exercise a part of your daily routine is a great habit to encourage balanced restful sleep.
2.Cut out or reduce Caffeine, Alcohol & Nicotine – These stimulants are all known to disrupt sleep patterns; cutting down or even cutting them out completely is an effective step towards better sleep.
3.Balance Your Blood Sugar & Eat Early – Achieving blood sugar balance through dietary change is essential to support restful sleep. Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks daily – always combining protein, fat and carbohydrate. Eating late in the evening can play havoc with sleep patterns too so make sure you’ve finished your main meal at least 3 hours before bedtime.
4.Relax – Stress is perhaps the biggest contributor to poor sleep. The first step to tackling stress is to identify where it comes from and then take steps to reduce it. In addition, practicing relaxation strategies –yoga, or a walk in the fresh air can help your body to cope with stress much more effectively.
Contact me for more advice
www.vitalnutrition.eu Tel: 647397501
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