With the silly season now in full swing it can mean extra stress and social engagements leading to late nights and consequent lack of sleep. Health priorities such as 8 hours of quality sleep and regular exercise fall by the wayside while we make time to squeeze as much as possible into our already-overfilled days.
While it can be easy to shrug sleep off as less important than other health priorities this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sleep is THE foundation of all wellbeing and is crucial for all manner of functions and repair processes in the body.
Not getting enough sleep each night has been shown to alter the expression of over 700 genes in the body including what foods you crave, how you metabolise your food and why you sometimes can’t remember your neighbour’s name. Studies show links between lack of sleep and a vast array of health conditions including premature ageing, memory loss, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight gain.
“Ok, so I know sleep IS important but I’m still super busy!”
Well, perhaps we can focus on improving the QUALITY of our sleep, so that even though we might not be achieving the full 8 hours (because we don’t want to miss out on the fun stuff!) we can at least make sure that we are getting high quality, deep, restorative sleep when we are sleeping.
To improve your sleep quality try doing the following things:
- Keep it dark –Keep your bedroom as dark as possible and try to avoid screens and bright lights around bedtime to allow your body to produce melatonin (your sleep hormone) for natural support you to fall asleep faster.
- De-Stress – I know, this one is tricky because we can’t just push a button and make things go away… But if we become more mindful of what contributes to stresses in our lives than at least we have more power over how we react to said stresses. Meditation, relaxing walks and cutting caffeine can all be great ways to help your body de-stress. Less stress means less cortisol coursing around in your body which in turn leads to a more restful and uninterrupted night‘s sleep. So go ahead and pamper yourself with a massage or scented bath before bed.
- Supplementation – Mineral deficiencies are a leading cause of sleep disturbances as many minerals are lacking in our modern-day food chain. Nutritional supplementation with a comprehensive formula can have a positive impact on naturally sedating the nervous system and supporting deep sleep. Aim for a formula which includes magnesium, vitamin C, zinc and B vitamins for additional nervous and adrenal support and to facilitate high-quality, restorative sleep to help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead.