Are you a 7,8 or 9 hour sleeper?
I'm definitely an 8 hour kind of gal. I used to survive on a hell of a lot less though. I was an insomniac in my younger years & become a bit hooked about learning more about it (one of the ways I got into nutrition!).
The thing with sleep is that everyone is SO different. Some struggle to get to sleep, some wake up in the night, some wake up early. The reasons for these can be very different too.
As a Nutritional Therapist I try to understand my client's sleep patterns & their triggers to help them improve their sleep.
There are also some great herbs & supplements for helping to improve sleep, I think I've tried most of them! I know which ones work for me & use them occasionally when I really need them. I won’t say which as it’s very individual and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you - everyone is different!
Here are my 5 tried & tested personal tips to any fellow insomniacs out there.
1. no phone in the bedroom Gamechanger.
Leaving my phone in a different room signals the end of the day & I automatically relax. It also helps reduce blue light exposure which affects the sleep hormone melatonin. No late night scrolling either which can trigger anxious thoughts. 2. limit afternoon caffeine I love my daily coffee but for me I have to consume most caffeine before 12pm otherwise it’s game over.
The 1/2 life of caffeine is 6 hrs & the 1/4 life is 12hrs which means if you’re drinking coffee at midday a 1/4 of the caffeine is still in your system at midnight!
3. establish a routine I know this is boring but I try to go to bed a similar time most nights, it works for me.
I give my body clues that’s its time to wind down by dimming the lights, having a chamomile tea & try to limit phone usage 1hr before. 4. create a sleep opportunity I was an anxious insomniac. I was always thinking that I might not sleep which made it even worse.
I now create a ‘sleep opportunity’ where I factor in the time it might take me to get to sleep (1hr) on top of the hours of sleep I need (8hr). I no longer panic if I don’t fall asleep immediately & if I do I just get an extra hour! 5. Finish eating 3hrs before bed Not only does eating late at night affect your digestion, but every time we eat insulin is released to help manage blood glucose.
This means snacking late at night can cause a sugar crash where cortisol is released & it’s likely to disrupt your sleep.