Habitual sleeplessness is fairly common. In fact, one in four people experience sleep difficulties, which include trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, early morning waking, sleeping too much, or restless or unsatisfying sleep. Not getting a good night's sleep can affect your mental well-being, cause anxiety and irritability, deteriorate your overall performance and can even result in mild personality changes.
Sleep disorders can be the result of various conditions or medical problems. A lack of nutrients or poor nutritional habits, eating too close to bedtime and a sedentary lifestyle can be major contributors to sleep problems and to other health disorders. Therefore, it is important you seek professional advise if you can't get an entire night's sleep on most nights over a one-month period.
To improve your sleep, establish a set of habits to promote a healthy sleep cycle. You might want to try some of the following strategies:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking at least four hours before bedtime.
Skip the naps as they can interfere with normal sleep cycles, specially avoid napping later than 3pm.
Spend time outdoors every day for 30 minutes. Getting some sunlight can improve your vitamin D levels and increase absorption of vital minerals that promote better sleep.
Breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes before bedtime can control stress, anxiety and will help you to put worries out of your mind. Try Headspace app or any guided meditation or hypnosis app like Solfeggio app.
Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Not for reading, working, eating or watching television.
Set an alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time every morning.
Exercise is better in the late afternoon or early evening, but not within 2 hours of bedtime.
Take a hot bath an hour or two before bedtime.
Go to bed only when you are sleepy.
Keep the bedroom comfortable, quiet, fresh and clean as it helps to create a comfortable sleep environment. Try to ensure that your room is not too hot or cold, and block out light.
If you snore, try sleeping on your side.
If you still experience sleep problems implementing these strategies, please do contact us. We will review all aspects of your life, including your overall diet, your individual metabolism, and your internal and external environmental risk factors to determine what nutrients and biochemical patterns might be out of balance and affect your sleep.
References and notes:
1. PLOS "Why the brain system needs sleep." and "Antioxidant benefits of sleep". Science Daily.
2. Nathan E. Cross, Negar Memarian, Shantel L. Duffy, Casey Paquola, Haley LaMonica, Angela D'Rozario, Simon J.G. Lewis, Ian B. Hickie, Ronald R. Grunstein, Sharon L. Naismith. Structural brain correlates of obstructive sleep apnoea in older adults at risk for dementia. European Respiratory Journal, 2018; 52 (1): 1800740 DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00740-2018.
3. Rishi Sharma, Pradeep Sahota, Mahesh M. Thakkar. A single episode of binge alcohol drinking causes sleep disturbance, disrupts sleep homeostasis and downregulates equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1. Journal of Neurochemistry, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/jnc.14470