10 Tips for Better Sleep

Have you ever struggled with getting good sleep? I know I have. That tossing and turning at night willing your brain to turn off is the absolute worst! But more than that, without good sleep, you are putting yourself at risk for serious health conditions and hormone disruption. It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. And you are not alone, 50% of Americans have difficulty falling asleep and 33% of Americans experience insomnia regularly (Murray, 2012). As a result, about 10 million people rely on pharmaceuticals to help them sleep (Murray, 2012). Common causes of lack of sleep include stress, poor diet, and medication.

Here are some tips to help you get the sleep you deserve.

Nutrition

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed as these act as stimulants to keep you awake longer.

  • Eat a varied diet rich with fruits, vegetables, good quality protein and fats to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition. Think about having a lighter meal before bed to avoid indigestion at night.

  • Ensure you are getting enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can cause difficulties in sleep. Sources of magnesium include spinach, swiss chard, beans, nuts/seeds, and avocado.

  • Don’t neglect Potassium either! Potassium works with magnesium to improve sleep and can be found in swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts.

Herbs

  • Adaptogens such as ashwaganda, maca, and holy basil can help to destress the body and can be used in a tea or tincture to help you relax at night.

Lifestyle

  • Turn off devices like phones and laptops as they emit light that delays the release of melatonin, which keeps you awake longer. Power off your light-emitting technology at least an hour before bed.

  • Keep the temperature in the bedroom below 70 degrees, any warmer may lead to poor sleep.

  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed every night and waking up at around the same time.

  • Exercise early in the day as exercise may stimulate the production of cortisol, which may actually keep you up at night. Try to exercise at least 3 hours before bed.  

Reach out to me if you want to talk about your sleep concerns or habits!

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References:

https://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/20-ways-to-sleep-better-every-night/slide/21

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/15/nutrients-better-sleep.aspx

Murray, Michael T. and Pizzorno, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012.

Bauman, Edward. Foundations of Nutrition Textbook. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College, 2016.

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

Salima Mangalji