A good night's sleep is equally as crucial as regular exercise and a balanced diet!
In recent years, scientists have concluded that a good night's sleep is equally as important as regular exercise and a balanced diet. Many of us evaluate our food and exercise when considering how to make adjustments to improve our overall health and well-being, but fail to consider sleep. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on a whole range of things including hormones, exercise performance, immune system and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most essential things you can do to improve your health. A good night’s sleep shouldn’t be considered as an optional luxury but as a non-negotiable necessity.
Sleep quality and quantity have both dropped over the last few decades. According to a recent YouGov survey conducted in the UK, 35% of people surveyed are getting less than 7 hours sleep a night. Nine in ten (89%) Britons say their life would be improved if they had more sleep. The NHS recommend that the average UK adult needs between 7 and 9 hours sleep every night.
Making changes to your diet and lifestyle may help improve your sleep quality. Certain supplements and natural remedies could also be beneficial. Below are 12 research-backed suggestions (based on over 60 studies listed at the bottom of this article) to help you sleep better at night.1. Increase your exposure to light during the day.
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock that influences your brain, body, and hormones, allowing you to stay awake and alerting your body when it is time to sleep. During the day, natural sunshine or bright light aids in the health of your natural time-keeping (body) clock. This enhances both daytime energy and nightly sleep quality and length. Daytime bright light exposure increased sleep quality and duration in patients with insomnia. It also cut the time required to fall asleep by 83%.
A comparable research in older people discovered that two hours of bright light exposure throughout the day boosted sleep time by two hours and sleep efficiency by eighty percent. While most studies include persons with severe sleep disorders, everyday light exposure will most likely benefit you even if you sleep well. Try receiving regular sunshine exposure or, if that isn't possible, invest in an artificial bright light lamp.
2. Limit your exposure to blue light in the evening.
Light exposure during the day is good, whereas light exposure at night has the reverse impact. This is due to its influence on your internal body clock, which tricks your brain into believing it is still sunlight. This decreases chemicals like melatonin, which aid in relaxation and deep sleep. Blue light, which is emitted in vast quantities by electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops, is the worst in this respect. There are a number of ways you can reduce blue light exposure at night.
Wear blue-blocking sunglasses. To filter blue light on your laptop or PC, use an app and install a blue light filtering app on your smartphone. Best of all, two hours before going to bed, switch off the TV and any bright lights.
3. Don’t drink Caffeine late in the day.
A drink containing caffeine can improve attention, energy, and athletic performance. Caffeine does stimulate your nervous system so when consumed later in the day, it may prevent your body from properly resting at night. Caffeine drank up to 6 hours before bedtime significantly reduced sleep quality in one study. Caffeine levels in the blood might remain increased for 6-8 hours. As a result, consuming excessive amounts of coffee after 3-4 p.m. is not advised, especially if you are caffeine sensitive or have difficulties sleeping. If you do feel the need for a cup of coffee or tea at night time, you could always try decaffeinated – best to buy one that has been decaffeinated using the Swiss water technique as it doesn’t use any chemicals to remove the caffeine.
4. Decrease the number of irregular or extended afternoon sleeps.
While brief power naps are good, extended or inconsistent daytime naps might disrupt your sleep. Sleeping during the day might throw off your internal body clock, making it difficult to sleep at night.
Another study found that while 30-minute naps might improve daytime brain function, longer naps can worsen health and sleep quality.
So, you shouldn't be concerned if you take frequent afternoon naps and sleep soundly. The consequences of napping vary according to the individual.
5. Strive to sleep and wake at regular times.
Your body clock operates on a fixed loop, synchronising itself with dawn and dusk. Consistency in sleep and waking hours can help with long-term sleep quality.
According to one study, participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on weekends had poor sleep. Conversely, “sleep binging” where you sleep less during the week and try and make up for it at the weekend can also disrupt your internal body clock.
Several research have found that irregular sleep patterns might disrupt your body clock and melatonin levels, which tell your brain to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be best to try and get into the routine of waking up and going to bed at the same times 7 days a week.
Also, when your alarm goes off in the morning, don’t hit the snooze button! Waking up in the morning with an Alarm is a shock to your body and can impact your heart and blood pressure. This is normally fine for one time, but if you use your snooze button several times before finally waking up, this could have an impact on your long term health so something else to be wary off. If you keep to regular wake times, may people don’t need an alarm and wake up naturally.
6. Avoid alcohol.
Drinking alcohol might have a detrimental impact on your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to induce or worsen sleep apnoea, snoring, and interrupted sleep patterns. It also affects melatonin synthesis at night, which is important for your body's body clock. Another research discovered that drinking alcohol at night reduced normal evening spikes in human growth hormone (HGH), which regulates your body clock and has many other important functions. Drinking lots of alcohol in the evening also sends your body into a state of sedation and limits deep sleep. There is also a tendency to wake up a lot more than normal (although this can be forgotten!).
7. Control the temperature in your bedroom.
The temperature of the body and the bedroom can also have a significant impact on sleep quality. It can be difficult to obtain a decent night's sleep when it's too hot, as you may have discovered during the summer.
According to other research, higher body and bedroom temperature might reduce sleep quality and increase the number of times you wake up. Most individuals appear to find 70°F (20°C) to be a pleasant temperature, however this varies on your preferences and habits.
8. Avoid eating late at night.
Eating late at night may impair sleep quality as well as impair the normal production of the Human Growth Hormone and melatonin. Yet, the quality and kind of your late-night food may also have an impact. A high carb supper eaten 4 hours before bedtime helped participants fall asleep faster in one research but curiously, one research found that a low carb diet enhanced sleep, so again it will depend on the individual. The key though is to not to eat too late into the evening.
9. In the evening, unwind and clear your mind.
Many people have a pre-sleep ritual that they follow to help them relax. Relaxation exercises before bedtime have been demonstrated to enhance sleep quality and are a popular treatment for insomnia. Listening to soothing music, reading a book, having a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualising are all effective relaxation techniques. Experiment with several approaches to see what works best for you.
10. Take a bath or shower to unwind.
Another common method for improving sleep is to take a soothing bath or shower. According to research, they can help boost overall sleep quality and help people, particularly the elderly, fall asleep faster.
In one experiment, having a hot bath 90 minutes before bed enhanced sleep quality and allowed participants to sleep deeper.
11. Workout on a regular basis, but not before going to bed.
Exercise is one of the most scientifically proven strategies to enhance your sleep and overall health. It can improve all elements of sleep and has been used to ease insomnia symptoms.
One study found in older people that exercise cut the time it took to fall asleep in half and delivered 41 minutes extra sleep.
Although everyday exercise is essential for a healthy night's sleep, doing it too late in the day may induce sleep issues. This is due to exercise's stimulatory impact, which raises alertness and chemicals such as epinephrine and adrenaline.
Nonetheless, other research reveals no negative effects, indicating that its impact will vary from person to person. So, if you are exercising at night and find it difficult falling asleep, perhaps look to bring your exercise regime forward in the day.
12.Try a Supplement
Our formula to help Sleep has been developed using natural ingredients researched by experts and developed by scientists. We only use the purest and most effective ingredients possible to develop high-quality products that are safe, natural and backed by leading scientific studies.
Magnesium plays an important role in your nervous system, helping to activate mechanisms that quiet and calm you. It may also help relieve anxiety and depression, which can interfere with sleep.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It boosts sleep by reducing stress, anxiety and calming down a racing mind.
Apigenin is a natural product found in plants and herbs and supports sleep quality. It also supports healthy stress levels by slowing down the release of your body's main stress hormone, cortisol.
Luteolin is a type of citrus flavonoid that works in combination with the above ingredients to work as a natural sleep aid.
Sleep is critical to your health and you should consider sleep along with your diet and exercise when looking to optimise your health.
Sleeping for fewer than 7-8 hours every night can increase your chance of acquiring heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
You should rule out a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnoea by speaking with your GP.
If you want to improve your health and well-being, make sleep a priority and implement some of the suggestions discussed in this article.
References and Researched Studies