Are you getting enough? More quality sleep = far better health.
As adults we need somewhere between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night to allow our best chances of recovery and regeneration overnight. This helps maximise our energy levels and brain power for the following day. Poor sleep can impact on our health by affecting our hormones, elevating both physical and emotional stress and making it difficult to lose weight. Try these easy tips to boost your sleep quality:
- Maintain a regular bedtime – plan to go to bed around the same time every night. We insist on this with our young children, but lose the art as adults, although it is just as important. A short daily bedtime routine may include consuming a herbal tea, taking a warm bath and having a good read to calm the mind and soothe the body ready for sleep.
- Identify and eliminate anything that may stimulate the senses before bed – eg. caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Some medications can disrupt sleep as well because they contain caffeine. While alcohol may have a sedating effect, the enzymes that we produce to break down the alcohol actually have the opposite effect. Certain compounds such as colourings, flavourings and refined carbohydrates can also act as stimulants.
- Don’t dine too late – try to have a regular schedule for meals, which will keep your appetite hormones in check.
- A small bedtime snack may help – low night time blood sugar levels can cause insomnia. Choose foods high in tryptophan, eg. turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese and nuts, especially almonds. This should be a snack, not a full meal, so it is easily digested.
- Set the scene – aim to keep your bedroom a peaceful haven by removing all electronic devices including TV’s and bright lights. Cultivate the mood for sleep with dim lighting and encourage winding down.