In this Blog we, once again, team up with Nutritionist Jo Scott-Dalgleish, offering some Nutrition and Health tips on how to achieve a better night’s sleep.
The proper amount of rest is crucial to us all and makes us function much better on a daily basis, so please read our tips and advice.
1. Keep your blood sugar well balanced throughout the day by choosing wholegrain carbohydrates rather than the white, processed type, eating some protein as part of each meal or snack to slow down carbohydrate digestion, and avoiding foods containing sugar as far as possible. Balanced blood sugar reduces stimulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which plays an important role in sleep patterns; whereas imbalanced blood sugar may wake you up during the night.
2. Include a food containing the amino acid tryptophan in your evening meal or have a small tryptophan-rich evening snack. Tryptophan is converted in the body to the relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin, which modulates sleep patterns, and also to melatonin, which helps to regulate your circadian rhythm (‘sleep-wake’ cycle). Foods high in tryptophan include chicken, oats, milk, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa). Many of these foods also contain calcium, which is needed to convert tryptophan to serotonin.
3. Eat your evening meal before 8pm. This enables your digestion to settle prior to sleep.
4. Avoid caffeine as far as possible, especially after 2pm, as it stimulates the nervous system and upsets blood sugar balance.
5. Try to minimise stress levels. Stress raises production of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands, which has a stimulatory effect on the HPA axis. Ensure that your diet includes plenty of wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and beans/lentils. These foods provide the B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin C needed to support your adrenal glands.
6. Try some of the following lifestyle tips:
- Have a lavender-scented bath before bed
- Ban TV, computers and phones from your bedroom
- Use an airline-style sleeping mask
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends
- Try yoga or meditation to help reduce stress.
- Finish exercising at least two hours before trying to sleep.
If you have any questions you can contact Jo directly via her website www.nutritionsolutions4health.co.uk or you contact me at email@example.com or call me on 07921 777477