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23 Jul, 2019

How to improve sleep

The power of a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated as sleep performs a number of important functions for the body and mind, including cell repair and cognitive maintenance. However, research shows that one in three people suffer from poor sleep. So here are our tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Health

The power of a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated as sleep performs a number of important functions for the body and mind, including cell repair and cognitive maintenance. However, research shows that one in three people suffer from poor sleep. So here are our tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening
The blue light released by electronic devices suppresses the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that regulates our sleep) and disrupts our circadian rhythm. In the hours leading up to going to bed, adjust the settings on devices to night mode and turn off notifications. Leave devices outside the bedroom and if you normally use your phone as an alarm, use an alarm clock instead. Interesting fact: it is thought that the antioxidant lutein found in corn helps protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light.

Increase exposure to natural light in the day
Increasing our exposure to natural light during the day, particularly in the morning, helps to calibrate the body’s internal circadian rhythm. Try to squeeze in a walk outside during your lunch break or swap your indoor fitness class for an outdoor workout.

Sleep at regular times
Research suggests that irregular sleep patterns increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. To maintain consistent sleeping hours, set your alarm to wake up at the same time each morning and try to go to bed at a similar time each night.

Create a bedtime routine
To help maintain regular sleeping hours, develop a consistent bedtime routine. This may include having a herbal tea, reading a book or writing down a to-do list for the next day (on paper rather than an electronic device, remember you’re trying to avoid blue light!). These small rituals signal to the body that it is time to “wind down”.

Cool down
Our core body temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the day, reaching its peak in late afternoon, before it starts to cool down and prepare the body for sleep. This cooldown signals to the brain that it’s time to kickstart melatonin production and maintaining a bedroom temperature of around 16-18°C helps the process. During the summer when it is harder to do so, try rinsing your wrists with cold water before bed.

Fuel your body with sleep enhancing nutrients
A healthy diet can have a big impact on our quality of sleep. In addition to avoiding stimulants (sugar and caffeine), try to increase your intake of sleep inducing micronutrients. These include: vitamin C, found in vegetables such as red peppers and cauliflower; tryptophan, found in fish, eggs, nuts and seeds; potassium, found in spinach and avocado; melatonin, found in cherries, tomatoes and oats; and vitamin B6, found in salmon, carrots and sweet potato. Our delicious salmon and cauliflower pizza recipe is packed with these nutrients!

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