How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Every health professional must have asked you this question? Amidst our busy schedule, Sleep issues have become alarmingly common.
Here are some of the reasons why you might not be getting proper sleep:-
- Distracted by thoughts
- Waking up at 3-4am (early hour insomnia)
- Constant interruption—night sweats
- Sleeping for more than 7hours but not waking up refreshed.
Poor quality of sleep is the most underestimated factor for weight gain, menopause, mood swings, low energy levels, fatigue etc. Sleep is the most important factor of a healthy lifestyle because the body repairs and regenerates during this time. It is also the time when your brain detoxifies and gets rid of waste products. Poor sleep patterns lead to hormonal imbalance and an increase in hunger hormones. Leptin and Ghrelin are the hormones responsible for the regulation of appetite, Leptin tells the brain that you are full and Ghrelin tells the body to eat.
Guess what happens when you don’t sleep well?
Leptin decreases and Ghrelin increases making your body think that you are starving. This either wakes you up to eat in the middle of the night or makes you overeat the next day. When leptin levels are low, the thyroid gland slows down your metabolism making you feel tired and increasing fat storage. Poor sleep increases the stress hormone—cortisol in the body leading to fat storage and can also increase insulin resistance leading to diabetes.
Here are some tips to help you sleep better:-
- Keep it dark: The artificial light can reduce the production of hormone—melatonin which makes it hard to fall asleep. Try to keep your bedroom black. Switch off electronic lights (alarms, mobile, TV, Ipad)
- Nice and early to bed: Practice going to bed at the same time every day. This registers in your subconscious mind and allows you to sleep well. This helps to regulate your body clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
- Keep gadgets away: Try to keep your room gadget free. Charge your phone or laptop in a different room if you can or keep them away from your head, shut them down or put them on Airplane mode (this will reduce the EMF’s, Electro Magnetic Frequencies, that can interfere with your sleep).
- Relax your mind: Stress is one of biggest factor of not getting good sleep. Give time to your mind to switch off from daily activities and get into sleep mode. Avoid thrillers or scary news at night. Try listening to soothing music, read books, meditation or deep breathing.
- Relax your body: Take a hot shower before bed or try Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are rich in Magnesium Sulphate, a known muscle relaxant and detoxifier.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol leaves you dehydrated at the middle of the night, with low blood sugar and overtaxed liver. Alcohol also messes with your production of serotonin (the precursor to melatonin).
- Limit caffeine intake: Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. So avoid the consumption of caffeine 4-6hours before bedtime.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Avoid refined carbs like pasta, white rice, bread, pastry, sugar and processed foods as it will spike blood sugar at night and may wake you up. Eating a healthy dinner allows the body to absorb proper nutrients and provides the brain with the chemical environment required to produce neurotransmitters, required to maintain adequate sleep.
- Hydrate well in the day: Your sleep can be interrupted if you’re dehydrated as this stimulates cortisol, which wakes you up.
- Supplement: Tryptophan is a protein that helps make melatonin. Food sources include whey protein, meat, fish, dairy, nuts and seeds. L-theanine is a calming nutrient found in tea (black and green), Magnesium helps to relax the body and increase a calming neurotransmitter. You can also use Ashwagandha, chamomile, lavender tea, passion flower and lemon balm to induce sleep. Refer to this blog for more info about this supplement.
Sleep is the golden chain that ties HEALTH and our body together. So Snooze and sleep well.