Sleep is one of those aspects of health that is often swept under the carpet and seen as a luxury. The phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is lightly thrown around, but what is sleep deprivation really doing to your body?
Studies show that insufficient sleep can present with the following symptoms:
- Increased hunger
- Reduce cognitive function
- Fatigue and malaise
- Reduced immune function
Sleep deprivation may also increases the risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
So how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?
If you fall asleep with ease, and wake refreshed with energy in the morning it is very likely you’re getting enough of the ZZZ’s. If however it takes you ages to fall asleep, you feel restless during the night, are constantly waking, tossing and turning and when you do wake in the morning you feel like you’ve been partying all night… then you probably need more hours of sleep or better quality of sleep.
What can you do?
The following tips will assist your body in preparing for a good night’s rest and aim to improve the quality and if needed, the duration of your sleep.
Rise with the sun: getting 10-15 minutes of daylight exposure when you wake supports the production of the hormone melatonin for the following night’s sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body and works to regulate sleep patterns.
Get that bedroom really dark! Although getting daylight exposure can assist in producing melatonin, it’s the absence of light that triggers your body to produce more of it, so getting thick black out blinds and turning the lights down or off before bed can really help your body wind down for sleep.
Focus on foods rich in tryptophan such as beef, chicken, fish, tofu, and bananas.
Tryptophan assists in the production of melatonin, and giving your body enough of the right ingredients will help it naturally produce this hormone that is essential for sleep.
Remove caffeine and other stimulants such as sugar after 1pm: stimulants cause your body to produce cortisol, when cortisol is high the body cannot effectively produce melatonin
So if you’re lacking in quality sleep or just not getting enough of it, implementing these tips is a great place to start to get you own your way to a restful night