As animals our basic instinct is to hibernate during the darker, colder autumn and winter months. However we all know this is just not possible – life and work must go on! Sleep can often be overlooked in our busy lives but this is very unhealthy. Quality sleep is central to human health and happiness. As well as playing a vital role in cerebral development, sleep is crucial for the maintenance of cognitive skills such as thinking, speaking and learning.
Our sleep is often disturbed in the darker months and we can often feel extra tired and fuzzy headed. There are a wealth of tips out there to ensure you sleep in heavenly peace, so here at Eat Drink Sleep we have selected the ones which work for us!
1 Make getting to sleep a ritual, try to go to bed at the same time every night with a similar routine if possible. Before going to bed, try having a warm bath
2 Avoid using your PC for at least two hours before you go to bed. Computer screens emit blue light, which tricks your brain to stop producing Melatonin. The blue light hits the light receptors at the back of your eyes and basically tells your brain that it’s time to get up!
3 Avoid eating before bed, as a full stomach will keep you awake. In addition you won’t metabolize the food and you will put on weight. It has also been shown that if you don’t get enough sleep you are prone to put on weight around your mid-riff
4 Get rid of your work worries and write a list before you go to bed
5 Drink valerian tea. Valerian is a safe herbal choice for the treatment of mild insomnia. Most studies suggest that it is more effective when used continuously rather than as an acute sleep aid. A potential advantage of valerian over sleeping pills is the lack of sleepiness on awakening
6 If you are waking with back pain and you feel uncomfortable during the night see if this improves by turning your mattress. If this does not work then consider a new one. Equally get the size of your pillow right. It needs to keep your neck level with the rest of your spine. Typically one medium/firm pillow does the trick
7 Get your bedroom right. Get rid of all TVs, PCs and make it a room to sleep in. Change your bed linen frequently
8 Eat foods that help you sleep. Include milk. Typotophan, an amino acid in milk products, can help reduce stress. The calcium helps your body optimise the benefits for sleeping, and the warm temperature can add to the soporific effects
9 Don’t drink caffeine late in the day, or alcohol late in the evening both will keep you awake
10 Meditate. Meditation and self-hypnosis actually appear to increase alpha-theta activity and frequent practice is often prescribed as a means of supporting the body’s ability to repair and recuperate. Prolonged periods of relaxation also up the secretion of mood altering neuro-transmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine), which results in a more resourceful state of mind.