Sleep is one of the most important ways to regenerate, repair and recharge your body and mind. Unfortunately it is the most overlooked by people in terms of achieving optimal health. When you are sleep deprived, you will eat more sugary snacks and carbohydrates (gain weight), have lowered mental and creative power, be more prone to moodiness or sadness, miss out on your most important anti-cancer hormone - melatonin (released at night, in darkness), suffer from anxiety, be more prone to stress and increase your risk of certain cancers. On that note, I present to you, my top 5 tips for getting a good night's sleep:
1. Avoid using a computer or watching TV, 1-2 hours before bed. Artificial light is very stimulating to your nervous system and disrupts your pineal gland function and the production of melatonin and serotonin (sleep hormones).
2. Avoid Caffeine containing beverages past midday. Caffeine is a stimulant and has an impact on your blood sugar metabolism. It is best avoided. I'm not just talking about coffee either, if you drink green tea in the evening it may be responsible for keeping you up at night. Instead try chamomile tea, which is very relaxing to the central nervous system. Often times, you will see this herbal tea sold under the name "sleepytime tea".
3. Journalling. Writing down your thoughts before bed is essentially like a brain dump. We have so much going on throughout the day in our lives and nighttime is when you want to be calming your mind and letting go of the stressors of the day. Writing down your thoughts is a wonderful way to clear the mind and prepare your brain for a restful sleep.
4. Exercise everyday. Make certain you are exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes everyday. Studies prove that regular exercisers have a more restful sleep. Avoid exercising in the evening as this can be as stimulating as caffeine!
5. Avoid trigger foods. This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products as they may have an affect on sleep, causing apnea, excess congestion, snoring, stomach upset ie. gas, among others.