With two years of global disruption behind us and another long year ahead of us, it’s pretty safe to say that we could all use a good night’s sleep these days. So we sat down with GOHealthy‘s Resident Naturopath, Jess Blair, to ask her advice for how to fall asleep faster and how to achieve that deep sleep we all crave.
Jess, can you tell us some of the reasons why we might not sleep well?
“There are so many reasons that people don’t sleep well, and some that can be quite easily fixed and some you might need a little more help. Stress is a big factor on why people report they cannot sleep, this could be emotional, physical or mental or even financial stress. Another reason is having too much screen time, or too much light can also interrupt your normal circadian clock.”
How do we sabotage ourselves without knowing when it comes to sleep?
“Scrolling on our phones is probably the most common reason why people are not sleeping well. Having your phone next to your bed will get you into a bad habit, as well as having a TV in your room. Good sleep hygiene should include no screen time an hour before bed, a nice quiet dark bedroom, and even a nice pre-bedtime ritual can also help with getting yourself ready to sleep.”
What are some of the supplements that can help if we are sleep deprived?
“Supplements containing Magnesium can be helpful in getting you to sleep and keeping you asleep, other herbs that are great for sleep are passionflower, kava and also valerian, which should always be taken under the guidance of a health practitioner.”
How does what we eat affect our sleep?
“The top foods that can help our sleep cycle are walnuts (these help your brain to secrete the sleep hormone), and cherry Juice (sour cherries are rich in tryptophan and melatonin, and research shows that tart cherry juice increases sleep time and sleep efficiency for people with insomnia).And foods that can hinder our sleep cycle are Chocolate (it contains caffeine and increases our heart rate), coffee (try to eliminate caffeine after 11am) and alcoholic drinks, which can also interrupt your normal sleep pattern, and cause you to be dehydrated.”
What are the ways that sleeping badly can affect us in our lives?
“Just like prolonged stress, prolonged sleep deprivation can cause some real serious health problems in our lives, these can include high blood pressure, diabetes, impaired immunity and even heart attacks. Sleep allows our bodies and minds to recharge, and can also help in improving our learning, memory, and decision-making skills as well as our creative skills.”
Lastly, what is your number one secret tip for sleeping better?
“Sleep is one of my favourite subjects to help with and talk about, as getting enough sleep can really set you up for your health goals. Once you focus on getting enough restful sleep you can tackle your day. My biggest tip is NO PHONES IN THE BEDROOM. No scrolling before bed will really help you set yourself up for a restful night sleep.”
Want more stories like this one? Check out our FLOW section. While you’re here, why not sign up to our newsletter and be the first to receive wellness discounts, access to exclusive workouts, competitions and a whole lot of wellbeing tips to live a life of balance (hello, shiraz), sweat and (happy) tears.