Hey Curious Minds!
Being a personal trainer who focuses on all aspects of your wellbeing, I’ve noticed how little people in Hampstead and Highgate actually sleep! I’ve been ‘in the ear’ to all my clients about sleep for a while so it’s only right I get ‘in the ear’ about sleep to my friends and followers digitally too! What I find quite strange is that I shouldn’t even have to be doing this; we all know sleep is vital, so why do so many people neglect it so much?
I’ve heard it all before; “I’ve got too much to do/I only need 5 hours/I’ll catch up at the weekend” to know that people actually believe that this is an option AND think they are living a healthy lifestyle. The truth is, if you don’t sleep enough, you’re more likely to be obese, you’re more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, you’re more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and you’re more likely to suffer cardiovascular health issues – to name just a few. What is pretty clear from the research I have done is that, you will definitely have a poorer quality of life, if you disregard your sleep quality. I want to tackle this, so I’ve put together 5 essential tips that you can act on TODAY to help you make the right decisions to get a better night’s sleep.
Let’s jump right in!
Tip 1: GET MAGNESIUM – this is the natural ‘anti-stress’ mineral (– I know right? We all need this anyway). Research has shown that diets high in magnesium result in deeper and less interrupted sleep cycles. The best food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables (surprise surprise), spirulina, chlorella and 100% raw cacao. Sadly, the average person is magnesium-deficient and deficiency has been shown to increase the likelihood of insomnia. So, it is absolutely key you get this mineral in your diet. An important note to make is that organic food contains much more magnesium than large scale, ‘conventionally’ produced food, which is almost totally devoid of magnesium. Alternatively, you can supplement magnesium easily without even having to take it orally. In fact, magnesium tablets or pills draw water into your gut that can cause poor digestion and diarrhoea. The best way to supplement magnesium is to absorb it through your skin; you can get body sprays and magnesium bath salts that are both incredibly efficient at absorbing magnesium, and are a great excuse to have a bath or massage ;-).
Tip 2: GET BLACKOUT BLINDS – clinically proven to help you get the best sleep ever! This one has been a big one for my wife and I; we’ve noticed an amazing difference when sleeping ‘blacked out’. If your skin and eyes absorb light from your window, it stimulates the body, therefore moving your sleep cycle away from the deep DELTA waves that flow in the most relaxing and regenerative sleep cycles. Instead your sleep becomes restless and disturbed.
Tip 3: GET A SLEEP ROUTINE – the body thrives on rituals and patterns. By setting a specific time to get ready for bed every day, you’re giving your body the message it needs to prepare for a good night’s sleep. If you’re up watching telly late, blue light from the screen stimulates your eyes and hormones are released to activate functions you need when awake. Poor sleep ensues, then the next night you try and ‘catch up’ on sleep by going to bed at 9:30pm. Your body has no idea what’s going on and you will lie there awake, thinking about what you need to do tomorrow rather than falling asleep peacefully today. A often hear of people waking up with an alarm set for 6:30am, and then hitting ‘snooze’ (sometimes multiple times!). This is the most stressful and ineffective way to start the day. You’ll feel more tired, more frustrated and you’ll have a poorer night’s sleep the following night.
Tip 4: GET A BEDTIME TEA – 20 minutes before getting ready for bed, make a tea proven to improve sleep quality and sleep latency. First tip is to find a quality Reishi medicinal mushroom extract; this has been scientifically proven to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the time spent in deep sleep. Second tip is to find a good quality Valerian root tea; a natural sedative and proven to be as effective as synthetic sleeping pills. This root can be so powerful that if you take too much, it could make you feel so well rested that you could feel overly drowsy the next morning! Finally, the ‘grandmother’s favourite’ tip: Chamomile – not only good for helping you ease into sleep, but also for improving digestion and expelling unwanted gases from your colon. Give these tips a try – and let me (and others) know how you found them!
Tip 5: GET A HIGH PROTEIN/HIGH FAT/LOW CARB SNACK ONE HOUR BEFORE BED – It’s been a big day at work…you’ve spent the day constantly making important decisions – and tiredness has finally kicked in. The last thing you want to do is cook a big meal, so what do you do? 1) Order Deliveroo, 2) make something quick (usually a pasta dish) or 3) head straight for the ice cream in the freezer! My most valuable tip will get you out of this sticky situation…don’t bother ordering, cooking OR binging. Stay calm and eat something low in carbs, high in fat and high in protein – you’re more likely to sleep like a baby. Low carbs reduce the likelihood of an insulin spike while sleeping and high protein and fat fuels healthy regeneration of muscle tissues, providing fuel for the functioning of your cells during restorative sleep. MY BEST OPTIONS FOR THIS? Almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hulled hemp seeds! Crack some sea salt over them (or have the ‘nut butter’ versions with some raw veggies) and I promise you, you will feel more rested, more rejuvenated and better prepared for the tasks you need to complete the next day.
So there are my 5 essential tips for a good nights sleep! Plenty of information to get your teeth into and even if you only use one of them, it could greatly change the quality of your sleep and general wellbeing. Please share with anyone who has problems sleeping or you think might benefit from this information…Thank you and see you next time.
Patrick Moore Jones