It isn’t called beauty sleep for nothing. If it is weight loss and anti-ageing you are looking for then begin by assessing your quality of sleep.
We know the restorative effects that sleep has when we have had a good slumber; our skin, our eyes, our thoughts and are moods are all happier. What many of us don’t know, is that lack of sleep can cause insulin resistance, leptin resistance, obesity, carbohydrate cravings, depression, hormone dysfunction, and a vicious cycle of ageing faster than we are meant to.
Here are 7 ways to enhance your sleep:
- Calm inflammation. Anti-inflammatory treatments such as fish oil and turmeric are proven to assist in dampening down inflamed processes in the body. Chronic inflammation causes elevated cortisol, and agitation of the nervous system, which can lead to a disturbed sleep.
- Embrace magnesium. Nutritionists refer to magnesium as ‘the great calmer’. It is always best to get our vitamins and our minerals from whole foods such as green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts.
- Go for Glutamine. This amino acid converts to the sleep promoting neurotransmitter GABA. Animal proteins represent one of the richest sources of glutamine. Good sources include dairy products like organic milk, unsweetened yogurt, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese as well as chicken, beef and fish.
- Do not starve. Some people require a light snack before bed to promote better sleep. When you pair tryptophan-containing foods with carbohydrates, it may help calm the brain and allow you to sleep more deeply. For others, eating can lead to indigestion. Experiment with snacks like a half of chicken sandwich, a small bowl of muesli, or wholegrain cereal.
- Step away from the stimulants. Both alcohol and caffeine can interfere with the quality of sleep you have. Alcohol may initially make you tired however many of us will wake and feel tired but wired from the lasting effects of alcohol.
- Reduce liquids. After 6 pm limit water, juice, tea or other fluids that may result in frequent toilet trips throughout the night. Caffeinated drinks, which act as diuretics, may lead to an unrestful sleep and a full bladder.
- Drink alkalising minerals. Potassium citrate is an alkalising mineral which assists in calming the nervous systems. Our nervous system needs to be alkaline to initiate sleep.
And remember: a happy, healthy child and a nourished family begins at the end of your fork!