Simple tips for getting consistent, deep and restorative sleep, to support a positive outlook, stronger immunity and a better day.
We have all experienced a poor night’s sleep and the challenging day that follows. To avoid this and to function at our best, we need adequate amounts of sleep and consistent nightly rest. Ideally, you want to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Unfortunately, insufficient sleep has become more common. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to circadian rhythm disruption, which can wreak havoc with overall body performance. Circadian rhythm is the sleep/wake cycle that is driven by our internal body clock. Research shows that this disruption is detrimental to brain function, overall wellbeing and can even lead to serious illness.
While life seems to be getting busier, it’s becoming even more important to prioritise nightly rest. We have put together some sleep insights and simple tips to help you do this.
Top 10 Tips for Getting a Good’s Night Sleep
- It starts with movement.
The body needs movement, whether it’s on a yoga mat, walking on footpaths or running the forest. Getting enough movement in the day burns energy, keeps your joints well-oiled and the blood flowing. Movement lays a foundation for restorative sleep.
2. Is an ‘exercise snack’ for you?
Just as it sounds, an ‘exercise snack’ is a short and simple form of exercise, that aims to integrate small bits of movement throughout your day.
Exercise snacks can look different for everyone. Here are a few examples: a short burst in your daily walk or up the stairs, dance at home to your favourite beats, march in place, walk around while on the phone, or even household chores such as gardening, vacuuming or sweeping. The goal is to add short bursts of energy and get your heart pumping.
3. Eat wholefoods.
The diet is often overlooked when considering how to improve sleep patterns. Studies have found a relationship between diet and sleep. Eating a diet that is high in sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates can disrupt your sleep.
4. Set boundaries around technology.
While technology has many benefits, it does not support restful sleep. The blue light that is emitted from electronic devices stimulates the brain and disrupts natural sleep/wake cycles. It’s recommended to turn off screens (this includes phones, computers, TVs, tablets, etc) 1 hour before bedtime. It can also help to reduce screen time and social media during the day.
5. Establish a consistent bedtime routine.
Now that our screens are off, let’s create some new evening habits that support relaxation. Reading, breathwork or saying 3 things you are grateful for, all support happy slumber. Consistency is also important. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. 7 days a week! Train your brain to know what’s coming up.
6. Have a bath soak with Epsom salts.
Epsom salts are a naturally occurring, pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate. Therefore, an Epsom salt bath soak is a great way to get a boost of magnesium. A relaxing warm soak combined with the magnesium eases tension and stress, preparing you for bedtime. Learn more about Epsom salt health benefits here.
Simply add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts into warm, running bath water. Soak for 20 minutes.
7. Choosing the right late-night nibbles.
Every now and then, we all get the hankering for a snack before bed. While it’s not an ideal habit, if you do reach for a snack, make it one that will support sleep. Try one of the following snacks:
- A handful of almonds provide protein to feel full, and magnesium to support restorative sleep. They also contain calcium, which helps the brain convert tryptophan into melatonin.
- Leafy greens contain magnesium and calcium. Not your typical late-night snack, but some crunchy kale chips may do the trick.
- Tart cherries contain phytomelatonin, which is a naturally occurring phytonutrient which supports your body’s sleep patterns. For a convenient option try Tru2U. This NZ company offers both traditional tart cherry, as well as NZ grown sweet cherry products. #support local.
- Bananas contain melatonin, serotonin, and magnesium, all which provide a calming effect on the nervous system. Try this sleep promoting evening shake.
8. Enjoy a cuppa of herbal tea.
Herbal tea is a great way to wind down before bed. The action itself sets the tone for a quiet moment to yourself. Chamomile tea has been found to be calming, improve sleep and reduce anxiety. We love the Clipper Organic Nighty Night Tea, which is a naturally caffeine free infusion with Rooibos, chamomile, lemon balm and a pinch of cinnamon – yum! For something a bit unique, try making this Bedtime Turmeric Tea.
9. Avoid these foods before bed.
If you are going to have a late-night snack, it’s best to avoid the following:
- High fat foods take too long to digest. Skip all fatty foods, including saturated fatty foods like chips and healthy fats.
- Spicy foods can disrupt your sleep or even cause nightmares.
- Dried fruit is too sugary.
- Alcohol interferes with sleep rhythms and prevents REM sleep. No doubt special occasions warrant a few late-night drinks, but in general, avoid alcohol before bed.
- Acidic foods or tomato-based products.
- Caffeine or natural stimulants such as chocolate, coffee, tea, cacao, maté or green tea. Have these items at mid-day when you need an energy boost.
10. Reassess your caffeine intake
This one may be the hardest to hear. The amount of caffeine you have during the day, affects your sleep rhythms in the night. Start by monitoring your caffeine intake and choose a caffeine cut off point. Research shows that it’s most effective to refrain from caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. Generally, say no to coffee after 3pm.
There are many factors that will influence the quality of your sleep. With a new understanding of how you can support your sleep patterns, you can make better choices. Experiment with these tips to see what works best for you. Like any new habits, start small and be kind to yourself.