FOCUS ON SLEEP

Poor sleep can have a major impact on health, affecting us both physically and mentally. Even if we are eating well and exercising, if we are not getting adequate, quality sleep, we are at a higher risk of poor health. One in three of us suffers from poor sleep, which can increase risk of chronic disease and shorten life span. We spend a third of our lives sleeping and there is good reason for that. Sleep is vital for biochemical, physiological, psychological and neurological function and without it, we would not survive very long. Sleep is like a performance enhancing drug, linked to increased productivity, longevity, increased mental clarity and improved physical health. It is a time when our body repairs and builds tissue and muscle, produces hormones, consolidates memories, regulates blood sugar, clears toxic waste from the brain, up-regulates immune cells, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, to name but a few. 

Top tips for optimising sleep:

  • Establish a regular sleep wake pattern (even at weekends)

  • Get exposure to daylight at least 30 minutes a day (in the morning) 

  • Avoid heavy meals up to 3hrs before bed

  • Reduce exposure to bright light in the evenings (or try blue light blocking glasses)

  • Enhance sleep environment – dark/cool/quiet. Consider black out blinds and cover over any lights (from clock/tv/etc)

  • Reduce caffeine intake or limit to the mornings only 

  • Reduce/avoid alcohol – even a glass of wine can affect sleep quality and reduce deep sleep

  • Try Meditation/deep breathing exercises before bed for relaxation. 

  • Consider switching off the wifi at night. Some people are sensitive to the EMFs, which can affect sleep quality 

  • Track your sleep using a sleep device such as a wearable (such as Oura), or track with an App (Sleep Cycle)

 

I’ve tried all that but I’m still having trouble sleeping…

There may be other factors, such as hidden inflammation, infections, hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, overtraining and blood sugar imbalances that may be affecting your quality of sleep, which need to be investigated. See a functional medicine practitioner about your sleep so that you can optimise your sleep and optimise your health. 

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