We’ve all been there — that agonizing time when you lie in bed, wide awake, unable to turn off that incessant mind-chatter or anxiety at the end of a busy day and drift off to sleep.
We know sleep is important; it’s the time the body heals and repairs on a cellular level, but what exactly does lack of sleep or poor quality sleep do to your health? Poor sleep wreaks havoc on your hormones, affects your concentration and memory, causes nervous system dysfunction, lowers your immunity and can contribute to weight gain.
Try implementing these tips to reap the benefits of a good night sleep and wake up looking and feeling like a million bucks!
1. Eat foods containing tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid which promotes relaxation and sleep. Have a small snack that's high in tryptophan about 30-60 minutes before bed, such as a small handful of nuts, a banana, a hard-boiled egg or hummus with carrot sticks.
2. Ditch the afternoon coffee.
Avoid coffee, and any caffeine for that matter, because it’s a stimulant that causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. It’s also a diuretic, so it can keep you running to the bathroom at night! Caffeine can stay in your body for up to nine hours, so opt for a better choice, such as fresh juices or herbal teas.
3. Drink chamomile tea.
Is a mild sedative that supports your nervous system and promotes restful sleep. It also aids digestion by reducing spasms after a meal, making it a fabulous post-dinner beverage.
4. No TV before bed.
Cut off television and laptop use at least an hour before bed. The light from these devices affects the human circadian rhythm, which can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep. Try reading a book, having a bath, or chatting to a loved one.
5. Enjoy an Epsom salt bath.
Epsom salts are high in magnesium, which has a calming effect on your nervous system and is considered the “anti-stress” mineral. Your body is able to absorb the magnesium straight through your skin. Just toss ½ cup of Epsom salt in warm water and enjoy.
6. Get moving.
Do some sort of physical activity each day for at least 20 minutes to release feel-good hormones and chemicals that promote sleep. Try to exercise at least four or five hours before bed.