We all know that feeling when your alarm goes off in the morning and you’ve had little to no sleep throughout the night. You get to work feeling irritable, groggy and exhausted and there is very little you can do feel more energised and alert.
Insomnia can be triggered by a number of different reasons, usually work stress and depression, but there are some things you can do to control it. Simple changes to your diet and habits before bedtime could help you get your full, restful eight hours.
Here are our top five tips to getting a great night’s sleep.
1. Have a sleep-happy diet
Your diet is the fastest and easiest thing you can do to improve your sleep patterns. Start by cutting down on your caffeine intake. Limit your coffees to only before lunchtime and switch to decaf drinks for the afternoon. But look out for hidden caffeine in cough and cold medicine, some chocolate and multivitamins.
Magnesium is a brilliant nutrient for aiding sleep so make sure your diet is rich in legumes, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables like wild lettuce, whole grains and nuts like almonds and cashews. Magnesium acts as a natural sedative so will help you drift off faster.
Tryptophan is an amino acid which can really help you drift off. It is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin, the hormone that controls your body’s sleep patterns. White meats such as turkey and chicken and fish like salmon, halibut and cod are all rich in tryptophan.
2. De-stress to sleep better
Stress is the biggest cause of insomnia but it can be controlled with the help of some relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. If you find it hard to switch off, try going to a regular yoga class, here the instructor will teach you deep breathing exercises, meditation and stretching so you can incorporate some of the techniques before bed. It will help de-stress, calm and empty your mind for a good night’s sleep.
The familiar scent of lavender has long been used as a remedy for sleeplessness. Research has found that women respond to the scent better and it does help in reaching deep sleep and lengthening sleep time. Just a couple of drops of essential oil on your pillow or a lavender sachet will help you drift off. Another great idea is to have a lavender scented bubble bath – the bath and warm water will help you relax after a long day at work.
4. Natural remedies
Taking supplements could help your get your sleep patterns under control. Vitamins and minerals like magnesium and calcium are both sleep boosters, and when they are taken together, the become even more effective. Hops is also known to help calm and sedate (most will know it from beer!) but for sleep purposes, it can help fight anxiety and insomnia. Another less known treatment is oxygen therapy. Users have reported that after breathing in the oxygen-enriched air from the can, they felt more relaxed and less stressed – perfect if you’re looking to unwind before bedtime.
5. Light control
If you have trouble drifting off to sleep at night, it might be because you need more light in the morning. Light exposure is very important as it tells the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Taking a walk first thing the morning is a great way to boost your ‘light intake’ or you could try a light ala