With Health Coach & Nutritional Therapist, Rebecca Davies
We all know that good sleep promotes great health but why do so many of us struggle to make it happen? The effect a poor night’s sleep can have on our following day can be monumental. Sleep helps us to maintain a healthy weight, concentrate better, reduce the risk of cardiovascular and mental conditions, and overall promotes a good sense of wellbeing and mental clarity. Plus, when you’re clocking up good quality beauty sleep, it really does promote our glow, both internally and externally. Not only should we be focusing on the amount of sleep we are getting (the recommended is between 7-9 hours a night), but also, and arguably more importantly, on the quality.
Eat to sleep better
Supporting your sleep through the foods that you choose to eat both throughout the day and close to bedtime is vital. Foods rich in both melatonin-producing amino acids and magnesium signal to our brain that it is time to sleep. A couple of these foods include bananas, cherries, dark leafy greens, chickpeas (hello hummus), salmon and nuts.
You could try an oven baked banana stuffed with dark chocolate and topped with crushed nuts for a delicious, magnesium and melatonin-rich dessert. Or try loading up your dinner with extra dark leafy greens and wild-caught salmon for an antioxidant, healthy fats, and sleep-supporting overload. You should try to AVOID refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine before bed.
Movement and mindfulness for a restful night
An hour or so before hitting the hay, try winding down with a gentle yoga flow to completely relax your mind, muscles and body. You could try lighting some candles and using a pulse-point magnesium roll-on for the ultimate relaxing wind-down. Don’t forget to use breathing techniques during your practice to lower your heart rate. Deep breaths through the nose will stimulate your vagus nerve which promotes relaxation and a sense of calm. Avoid high intensity exercise close to bedtime as this will stimulate your body and stress your muscles.
Additionally, if you tend to overthink before bed, try brain dumping in a journal and closing the page. You could also try a full body scan or guided sleep meditation to completely switch off.
Do not forget your second brain, the gut
Gut health and sleep go hand-in-hand, or should we say, brain-in-brain. A healthy gut promotes better sleep, and better sleep promotes a healthy gut.
One hormone essential for catching an adequate amount of zzz’s is serotonin. With 90% of our serotonin being produced in our gut, it is crucial that we keep our microbiome healthy in order to allow for serotonin to be undisturbed. In order to do this, make sure that you are including lots of probiotic-rich food into your diet. Think anything fermented: plain natural yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, even pickles. Don’t forget to support those probiotics with prebiotics, by eating foods high in fibre.
Prep your skin for a transformational beauty sleep
Sleep is nature's most powerful beauty treatment so clocking up those crucial night time hours is also super beneficial for our skin too. In the evening when we start to wind down our skin switches to ‘repair mode’ where it can begin the task of regenerating and recovering itself. However, if we fail to reach our optimal restful state, our skin doesn’t enter repair mode and the healing and mending process fails to take place. Our latest skincare innovation Cheat Mask has been formulated with Liposomal Melatonin, an innovative ingredient which can trick your skin into activating repair mode even if it hasn’t reached its optimal sleep level. The Liposomal Melatonin triggers antioxidant behaviour that would otherwise kick in during sleep to help minimise inflammation, visibly reduce wrinkles, and defend against oxidative stress meaning you wake in the morning to refreshed and beautifully glowing complexion without any effort. Think of it as your ultimate cheat day product.
Create a sleep-triggering bedroom sanctuary
Finally, let’s create a bedroom sanctuary that’s fit for sleep. Once you have eaten well, stretched your body, breathed mindfully, taken your probiotics and prepped your skin, the last step is going to be the cherry on top for a blissful nights’ sleep.
Start by opening your window. If you don’t want to sleep with your window open, try opening it an hour before you go to bed. A cooler room makes for a deeper quality of sleep. Additionally, avoid wearing heavy clothing for bed or anything that is going to make you overheat during the night. Try spraying your pillow with some magnesium or lavender spray and using a few drops of CBD oil for the ultimate relaxation. Finally, no screens before bed! An amazing way to wake up in the morning is using a sunlight alarm clock. Charge your phone outside of your bedroom and wake up more naturally with the help of gentle sunshine.
About Rebecca Davies
Becks is a certified and registered Holistic Health Coach and Nutritional Therapist, with a passion for helping others to live their best and most balanced lives. After training at both the Health Sciences Academy and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Becks now focuses her practice on all things stress management, sleep, gut health and disordered eating. Becks aims to get to the root of the problem in order to help you live your most fulfilled and healthy life, without restriction. She encourages her clients to make peace with food and themselves, once and for all. Life is too short to not live in balance. www.balancebybecks.com