Here are several factors to consider when generating a sleeping pattern:
- Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine during the week.
- Light: Keep the bedroom extremely dark, to tell the body’s light-sensitive clock that it’s time to sleep.
- Noise: Keep your bedroom extremely quiet or use a white noise generator (such as a fan).
- Relaxation/Routine: Develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing and familiar. Television, work, computer use, movies and deep/stressful discussions late at night can disrupt sleep.
- Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room, between 18-22C.
- Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, especially later in the day.
- Exercise: It’s not only good for a tight butt and big guns, it can help improve sleep.
- Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep. Try not to eat too much, too close to bedtime.
Nutrition is also paramount to a good night’s sleep! Here are seven foods that will aid your slumber:
- Fish: Most fish, and especially salmon, halibut and tuna, boast vitamin B6 which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness).
- Jasmine Rice: In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when healthy sleepers ate carbohydrate-rich suppers of veggies and tomato sauce over rice, they fell asleep significantly faster if the meal included high-glycaemic-index (GI) jasmine rice, rather than lower-GI long-grain rice. While the authors aren’t sure how it happened, they speculated that the greater amounts of insulin triggered by the high-GI meals increased the ratio of sleep-inducing tryptophan relative to other amino acids in the blood, allowing proportionately more to get into the brain.
- Tart Cherry Juice: In a small study, melatonin-rich tart cherry juice was shown to aid sleep. When adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day, they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia.
- Whole Grains: The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine reported that bulgur, barley and other whole grains are rich in magnesium and that consuming too little magnesium may make it harder to stay asleep.
- Kale: Research suggests that being calcium deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep. Dairy products are well-known calcium-rich foods, but green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collards, also boast healthy doses of calcium. Sesame seeds are also super sources of calcium!
- Bananas: Well-known for being rich in potassium, bananas are also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness).