My Five Top Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

How are you sleeping?
Friends, family, clients….I’m hearing so many people saying that they’re not sleeping too well right now. It’s not surprising right? I mean, there’s a lot going on.
Maybe you’re wondering what sleep has to do with nutrition? Quite a lot as it turns out! Diet and sleep are intertwined – and both are affected by stress. So, here are my top tips for a good night’s sleep. Let me know what works for you!

  1. Make the Most of Morning Light A good night’s sleep starts early in the day. As we move through the day the quality of the light changes. We have more blue light at the start of the day and this moves towards oranges and reds as we move towards sunset. Getting out for a walk in the morning exposes you to blue light and helps to set your body clock for the day.
  2. Exercise Smartly. Exercise can be great for helping you to sleep but make sure you time your exercise to get the most from your workout. High intensity exercise that boosts cortisol is best done earlier in the day. This works in line with your natural hormone balance. Cortisol is highest at the start of the day and as we move towards evening this falls and melatonin (a hormone which helps us sleep) starts to rise. Gentle exercise on an evening can help you unwind and release tension ready for bed.
  3. Eat magnesium rich foods. Magnesium is an important mineral for helping us sleep and is a nutrient we use a lot of when we are stressed! Make sure you are eating plenty of magnesium rich foods every day. This includes leafy greens, nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate.
  4. Watch your sugars. A diet high in sugar or simple carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta and white rice) can put us on a bit of an energy rollercoaster. We get a burst of energy after we have eaten but this is often followed by a dip which leads us to snacking. This frequent change in energy can impact on our sleep patterns.
  5. Leave a gap between food (and alcohol) and bedtime. Our sugar handling is particularly poor overnight. If you have interrupted sleep it may be because your body is still trying to process that last drink or your supper. You ideally want at least two hours between food and drink and the time you retire. If this sounds tricky work on widening the gap in 15 minute intervals.
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