HEAL YOUR BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH SLEEP

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Getting quality sleep accelerates healing; it’s the body’s time to repair and recharge, without distractions. It’s also very important for weight and appetite control – when we’re tired, we’re more likely to make poor food choices and skip exercise in favour of sitting in front of the TV.

Want to fall asleep quickly, sleep through the night, and wake up feeling alert? Of course you do! It’s a simple pleasure.

The first step is determining WHY your sleeping patterns are out of whack. These are the diet and lifestyle factors that may be interfering with the hot date you have with your bed every night:

    •    You’re consuming caffeine in the afternoon – and this includes coffee, green tea and black  tea.

    •    You’re drinking alcohol in the lead-up to bed, such as red wine, which revs up the liver.

    •    You’re eating sugar at night.

    •    You’re highly stressed and your mind is going crazy.

    •    You have anxiety.

    •    Your pituitary gland is not functioning as well as it should, meaning your hormones are imbalanced.

    •    You’re not eating enough protein at dinnertime.

    •    You’re exercising at night, and going to bed with adrenaline coursing through your veins.

    •    Your room is located in a noisy area – perhaps a main road, near a bar or close to loud housemates!

    •    Your face is glued to technology screens right up until the time you go to bed.

    •    Your room is too bright or too warm.

    •    You’re taking fat burning supplements e.g. green tea extract powders.

 We’re living in a stressful world, so it’s normal (inevitable, even) to have disturbed sleep every now and then because of our environment. But it’s a problem when it becomes a permanent feature of your life. We need and deserve to sleep well. Here are some tips to get you back on track: 

  1    Prioritise sleep

Starting from right now, you need to prioritise sleep. Do whatever you can to get into bed at a decent time (say, 10pm) so that you can sleep for at least 7-8 hours. When you prioritise sleep, the rewards are phenomenal. You’ll be able to function better in your day-to-day life. You’ll feel lighter, clearer, and be a kinder person. You’ll be alert at work, make fewer mistakes, and be less reactive to intense or emotional situations. Sleep deprivation heightens everything, making it seem worse than it is. When you sleep more, you enjoy life more. You’ll also be able to keep your weight, appetite and emotional eating under control, so you’ll probably binge less. Sleep for the sake of your health.

3    Wind down.

In the morning, the focus is on kick-starting your day with breakfast, exercise and maybe a coffee. At night, you need to relax and unwind your busy mind, signalling to the mind and body that it’s almost time for bed. To do that, set up a nighttime routine full of deliciously sleep-provoking rituals. These are the main points:

        – Turn your phone and computer off at 8pm.

        – Play some chill-out tunes

        – Pop your legs up against the wall for 10 minutes.

        – Stop eating after dinner.

        – Soak in a bath, read a book or do something to calm the mind.

4    Make your room a peaceful place

The goal is to make your bedroom desirable, and to associate it with sleep. In the hour or so before bed, dim the lights, put lavender oil on the pillows, and light a candle or burn essential oils. Keep a notepad on your bedside table, and jot down any pesky thoughts that come into your mind while you’re trying to wind down. Take away any computers and distractions so the room is a technology-free zone, and ensure the room temperature is comfortable. Ideally, your bedroom should be dark and cool.

5    Incorporate yoga into your life

Restorative yoga can do wonders for relaxing the mind (and slowing down that never-ending thought stream).

6    Tweak your diet

The connection between diet and sleep is real. 

DO:

 – Eat protein at night. This can REALLY help with sleep and blood sugar regulation. Low protein meals at night tend to make it much more difficult to fall asleep.

– Consume good fats to balance out your hormones.

– Give your liver some loving – enjoy brassica veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and kale that all contain an enzyme to help your liver detoxify! 

DON’T:

– Drink alcohol before bed.

– Drink caffeine after midday.

– Eat refined sugar – it spikes your blood sugars, which can disrupt sleep.

7     Is coffee getting in the way of your sleep?

We tend to credit coffee with making us more alert in the morning, but did you know it has that effect every time we drink it?  If you’re drinking more than one coffee a day, try cutting back. Slowly but surely, I bet you’ll notice a difference.

8     Help! I woke up and now I can’t get back to sleep!

The worst thing you can do is lie there, counting sheep, watching the clock, or trying desperately to fall asleep. That just causes more anxiety and restlessness. You need to get up and do something. Try these tips:

– Put your legs up against the wall for 10 minutes while breathing deeply.

– Listen to a relaxing playlist.

– Write down any thoughts in a notepad by your bed.

I hope these tips help you to sleep better and longer – and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

Charlie Brinton