Get to sleep quickly & easily

Get to sleep quickly & easily

For many of us, falling asleep and staying asleep can be a challenge. All that tossing and turning throughout the night can leave us feeling not only mentally and physically exhausted but extremely frustrated. A lack of sleep (less than 7 hours a night), has been linked to weight gain, anxiety and depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, reduced muscle memory and a very frazzled mind. Quite often, a lack of sleep is the reason why you are struggling to reach your desired health goals and perform at your peak.
If we want to be and feel our best, it is crucial that we are allowing our body to rest, recover and rejuvenate each and every night with at least 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Your everyday dietary and lifestyle patterns can make all the difference at the end of the day when it's time for some shut-eye.
For many of us, the problem is that we are tired during the day but when it's time for bed we simply cannot switch off and fall asleep. I like to call this "tired & wired". This usually results in hours of tossing and turning, scrolling through Netflix hoping to find something mind-numbing and then a deep feeling of frustration and anxiety knowing you're going to be exhausted the following day. If this sounds like you, let's get into what you can do to help break this anti-sleep cycle and bring on a rejuvenating sleep.

No Tech Zone

  • 1 Hour before your desired bedtime shut off all technology. Yes, that's right, that means no Netflix or Instagram right before bedtime. The blue light emitted from your devices messes up your production of melatonin (sleep hormone) and causes your brain to feel somewhat confused about what time of the day it is. Instead, grab yourself a book or magazine and read. Reading is such a calming exercise that will help you to relax and unwind.

It's All About That Zen Environment

  • Create a calming environment. Set the scene and make your bedroom a peaceful place where you feel calm and relaxed. Your bedroom is for two things, rest & romance. It is not a movie theatre or a music/dance studio so allow it to become a space where your body and mind instantly know it's time to unwind as soon as you set foot into this space. Dim the lights, diffuse a calming blend of essential oils (lavender, lemon balm, and cedarwood are all great), and make sure it is warm and cosy. I find changing my bed linen often actually helps with my sleep. What is better than getting into a freshly made bed with the smell of clean, fresh sheets... Ahh heaven. 

Supplement with Magnesium Glycinate

  • A deficiency in Magnesium can cause poor sleep as well as restless and cramping muscles which can keep you awake and uncomfortable. Before bed, I highly recommend rubbing magnesium oil and rubbing this onto your belly, legs and bottoms of your feet to relax your muscles. I also suggest taking a magnesium glycinate supplement (between 400-600mg) as this form of magnesium is easily absorbed and is best known for its calming effects on the brain which in turn promotes better sleep. Magnesium is used for 300 enzyme reactions in the body so supplementing with this mineral will also have great benefits on several other aspects of your health.

Caffeine only before 12.00 noon

  • Watch your caffeine intake. In fact, if you are truly struggling with sleep, cut out caffeine entirely for 2 weeks to see if that makes any difference for you. Coffee (in particular) has a half-life of approximately 9.5 hours, meaning that it takes this long to clear from your body. So, if your last coffee of the day is at 2.00pm, it could still be in your system until around 11.30pm. Add onto this the three coffees you had before that, the green tea you drank after your lunch and the chocolate bar before dinner... that is a hell of a lot of caffeine in your system that your body needs to process. As it is a stimulant it will keep you up and alert, not what you want when you are trying to sleep.
Here are some foods & drinks that also contain caffeine that you may not be aware of:
  • Green Tea
  • Cacao powder
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Black Tea
  • Fat Burner/Pre-workout Supplements
  • Energy Drinks & Soft Drinks

Shake It Off & Try Again

  • Get up, shake it off and try again. If after 40mins of trying to fall asleep you are still wide awake and probably extremely frustrated at this point, get yourself up and out of bed. I know, that sounds pretty annoying (especially when it's cold and you are comfy in your toasty bed wrapped up like a burrito) but trust me, you need to break this cycle. Get out of your bed, have a little stretch, go to the bathroom, grab yourself a glass of water, read a couple of pages in a book (DO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE) and then slip back into your warm bed and try again.
Maybe for you, falling asleep is not the issue. It's staying asleep that you struggle with. Do you find that the moment your head hits the pillow you have no problems dozing off but then find yourself constantly waking throughout the night resulting in a poor quality sleep?
  • In the majority of these cases, this is due to your blood sugar levels dropping too low in your sleep and your brain signalling to your body that it is in "danger" and it's time to wake up. A way that you can stop this from happening is by having a bedtime snack (how good is that?!). You want something with minimal sugar but higher in fats and protein to sustain blood sugar levels while you sleep.
I suggest one of the following snacks before bedtime:
  • Strawberries with a side of almond butter
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Hummus on celery boats
  • Hard-boiled egg.
Sweet dreams xox
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