Do you have trouble falling and staying asleep?
Studies have concluded that sleep has an important role in weight loss, heart disease, hypertension, depression and chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia. Besides feeling rested and energetic, a good night’s sleep can improve your overall health. Read below what you can do if you are struggling with your sleep.
Good quality sleep is a necessity for healthy, long-term health. Many factors determine the quality of sleep. In our busy lives, it’s easy to stay up longer than we should, but hitting the hay an hour earlier can actually have its benefits.
When we sleep, our bodies are designed to restore, repair and protect our bodies. In the first three hours, we are asleep, our bodies secrete growth hormones, collagen being one. Collagen repairs and protects body cells such as skin and hair. In conjunction with this, cell production increases to aid in repairing and growth of cells. Find out below what vitamins can aid in a good night’s sleep.
Vitamin B12 – B vitamins keep the adrenal glands healthy, preventing them from creating adrenaline at night causing insomnia and sleep interruption. A deficiency in vitamin B12 (common in vegetarians or vegans) experience neuropathy; this causes sensations of tingling and burning in the feet or hands. Symptoms are usually worse at night and can disrupt sleep.
Calcium – some call this mineral ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ as calcium helps the brain to relax, slow down and sleep, triggering deep sleep.
Chamomile – an herb used since ancient times used as a sleep aid from its calming effect. Chamomile is best used if you find yourself unable to fall asleep because you are overstressed.
Vitamin D – a lack of vitamin D can result in muscle aches and fatigue. Both of these things can affect sleep; muscle aches limiting our ability to sleep and fatigue both causing us to need more sleep. A deficiency can affect your body’s ability to regulate circadian rhythm, and with your body clock not running correctly, it is unable to signal the sleep hormones involved in making fall asleep.
Iron – not only essential for energy but if you are deficient in this vitamin, it causes fatigue during daytime and restless leg syndrome. People with this condition have constant movement and twitching sensations in their legs, particularly when they are trying to fall asleep.
Melatonin – known as the essential sleep hormone which helps regulate your circadian cycle. Our body produces this hormone prior to sleeping. Melatonin can be used to regulate an individual’s sleeping pattern, especially if there are disturbances in sleep (altered schedule, staying up too late or jet lag). Taking this supplement half an hour before bed helps to reset your body clock.
Magnesium – help with the mechanism that helps our brain relax to fall asleep by stimulating GABA receptors. It also aids in reduces muscle cramps and calming nerves, both common causes for a poor night’s sleep. The more relaxed your body feels the better the chances of sleeping through the night.
Supplementing with magnesium not only eliminates deficiency, but also helps your body with falling asleep and also get rid you of the muscle cramps.
Prebiotic fibres – prebiotics increase good bacteria in the gut; there are certain carbohydrates that do not get digested and cannot reach the gut to feed the beneficial bacteria, this allows absorption for more nutrients from foods digested essential for our body to function. Prebiotics in the gut is broken down into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) by the beneficial bacteria. SCFA improve our sleep by regulating blood sugar and energy sources which can fluctuate overnight. These fluctuations cause disturbed sleep and by stabilising blood sugar and energy, prebiotics can improve the quality of sleep.
5-HTP – usually known to enhance mood and decrease appetite, but can also help sleep. 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter essential for a good night’s sleep. A study found those who took 5-HTP and GABA needed less time to fall asleep, slept longer and reported improved sleep quality.
Valerian – a herb that acts as a sedative and anti-anxiety treatment. It increases the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which prevents the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain. If used over an extended period of time, valerian can actually help someone fall asleep faster and improves the quality of their sleep.
In addition to vitamins and good nutrition, the behaviour you have before you sleep affects the quality and duration of sleep. A healthy sleeping routine involves maintaining a regular bedtime, having your bedroom at the right temperature and not exposing yourself to technology at least an hour before your bedtime.
Here are some tips that you can take to get to sleep quicker and better.
- Switch off your phone
- Avoid screens in the hour before you go to bed
- Keep to a bedtime routine
- Keep the hour before bed the same every night
- Avoid heavy foods and drinks
- Try not to drink caffeine after 4 pm, or alcohol at night
- Do not eat heavy meals in the 2 hours before bedtime
- Try not to nap more than 20 minutes in a day
So you can see to achieve a good night’s sleep is not difficult with the right guidance and expert attention to detail, to get you from having low energy throughout the day to feeling alive and having a rested night’s sleep that you deserve.
As pioneers in our field, the nutritional information we provide is second to none and can only be found at Perfect Balance Clinic. We aim to get you to feel your best by achieving optimal results.
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Take advantage of our 15-minute sessions either with a Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Practitioner, designed to give you the support you need with your concerns and to get you started on your road to recovery. Find very quick and effective results!
This article was written by our team of specialist therapists at Perfect Balance Clinic. If you would like more specific advice about how our team can help you with this condition or symptoms you may be having, please complete the contact form below and one of the team will get back to you shortly.