If you find it hard to sleep at night you’re not alone. Around 50% of the population struggle with sleeping issues and this number is on the rise. So why is this the case? Likely the increasing dependency on technology and processed foods combined with a high-stress environment and a rush, rush, rush mentality that means we are non-stop on the go ALL the time. This constant rushing means that your body is continuously on high alert –so it’s no wonder your brain finds it hard to switch off at night!
If you’re struggling to get those all-important 8 hours of z’s each night read on for some helpful hints.
• Ensure your neck is in correct alignment
The position of your head and neck whilst sleeping is super important. Invest in a good pillow to ensure your neck is in “neutral” position when you’re resting on your back. It should be just the right amount of support and size- not too hard, not too soft, not to fat and not too flat.
Tip: If you sleep on your side try to line your nose up with the centre of your body. Never sleep on your stomach as it is really bad for your neck.
• Turn your devices off
The blue light emitted from your cell phone, tablet, or digital clock on your bedside table interferes with your sleep and makes it harder to fall asleep.
Tip: Set an alarm on your main device – usually your smart phone. Then turn off any TVs, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed. Cover any displays you can’t shut off and take your alarm clock out of your room.
• Have a consistent bed time
Erratic sleep schedules and night time activities can interrupt your circadian rhythm and negatively impact on your sleep quality.
Tip: Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. This will help to reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when to go to bed and follow a relaxing wind-down routine to help promote sleepiness and tell the body it’s time for bed.
• Eat and drink sensibly before bed
Going to bed either hungry or too full can cause discomfort and make it hard to fall asleep at night. Alcohol may help you drift off faster, but can later lead to poor quality sleep and may cause you to wake in the night. Try to limit your intake of alcohol before bedtime.
Tip: Having a small snack before bed that contains both protein and carbs will provide the amino acids you need for quality sleep as well as the necessary nutrients to help them cross the blood brain barrier.
• Manage your stress
I can’t stress this enough (pun intended). Stress is a HUGE contributor to sleeping troubles so if stress is an issue for you it is super important to target stress management as a means to help you sleep better at night.
Tip: Regular exercise and meditation can help lower stress hormone levels. Try to avoid stimulants such as coffee, sugar and energy drinks as these create rollercoasters of cortisol production which can leave you shattered in the day and wired at night. Mineral supplementation with a comprehensive formula such as SleepDrops Powder can offer additional support of you are struggling to get your stress levels under control and have trouble sleeping at night.
Kirsten Taylor, Managing Director and founder of highly successful company SleepDrops is New Zealand’s leading naturopathic sleep specialist. With qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutrition, and Medical Herbalism and over 10 years’ experience in private clinic Kirsten has a wealth of knowledge on all matters health and wellbeing related. Kirsten has featured on Nationwide TV and radio shows, magazines and newspapers providing insights into a wide range of health conditions.
Read more of Kirsten’s columns here.