This week, we learnt all about how to sleep better in our second wellbeing masterclass with Amanda Hamilton. Amanda’s expert advice included top tips for falling asleep easier and staying asleep longer! It’s particularly important to set yourself up for good sleep, especially as winter approaches, to keep yourself and your body healthy! Read on to find out what makes sleep so important and what you can do to have your best night’s sleep!
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep is incredibly important for you – both physically and mentally. A good night’s sleep gives your body time to reset for the next day, and this supports your immune system and your general health. A poor sleep affects your mood and leaves you feeling lethargic and irritable, meaning your whole day is affected!
There is also a dynamic relationship between sleeping poorly last night and eating badly today. We are all guilty of taking comfort in carb and sugar rich foods when we’re in a bad mood, and tiredness will lead to this as well. The worst part? This food will affect your sleep later as well!
One-third of UK adults suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbance issues, but you can make simple changes to your day-to-day life to help you get the best night’s sleep possible!
What Affects Sleep?
The biggest factors that affect your sleep are: activity, light and nutrition.
According to Amanda, you need to make sure you’re active enough throughout the day so you’re able to go to sleep. This is because your body needs to use its energy stores during the day, rather than when you want to go to sleep! Amanda recommends going for a 30 minute walk, outside, every day before 12pm. This will support the production of melatonin and get you moving!
One of the most important factors for sleep is light. We all know that during the day, when you’re awake, it’s light and during the night, when you’re sleeping, it’s dark. It seems incredibly simple, but this is nature’s way of telling your body the time. Essentially, if you’re spending too little time outside in the daylight, or too much time in bright light at night, your body doesn’t know whether it should be awake or asleep! This is called the circadian rhythm – a natural, internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
Eating well is another incredibly important factor for good sleep – both when you eat and what you eat. Amanda tells us that the timing of eating affects your sleep, because of the energy food creates as well as the fact that your body needs to work to digest the food. If you eat too close to bedtime, your body will still be working away and will keep you awake! The optimum time, she says, to finish eating for the day is around 3 hours before you go to sleep.
A healthy diet also contributes to a good night’s sleep. If you eat food that’s lower in fibre but high in fat, you’re less likely to have deep sleep. Similarly, whilst alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep, you’ll have difficulty staying asleep. These sorts of foods and drinks keep your body busy – meaning your sleep is more likely to be disturbed.
How To Sleep Better
With all of this in mind, Amanda has given us her top tips for sleeping better!
- Eat a balanced diet – focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins
- Use a sunlight alarm to wake up – this wakes you up slowly and naturally
- Make sure you go outside for 30 minutes before 12pm – this supports your melatonin production
- No caffeine after 12pm – allow your body to run off its natural energy
- Have a bath – about 30 minutes before going to bed, have a hot bath. The natural drop in body temperature will help you sleep
- Switch off screens and use a blue light filter or blue light filtering glasses – the light from your phone or computer increases melatonin levels and keeps you awake!
Amanda is an expert nutritionist and is passionate about helping people to discover healthy, natural ways to feel fantastic. In our next masterclass, Amanda will focus on supporting your immune system through nutrition to winter-proof your body!
If you’ve enjoyed these tips for getting a better night’s sleep, make sure to sign up to our next wellbeing masterclass with Amanda here.
You can find out more about Amanda Hamilton and get more advice on her website.