3 ways to sleep better

There’s nothing worse than feeling sleep-deprived, especially when you have a full to-do list you need to accomplish. Insufficient sleep can cause poor brain function, weakened immune system, and can even negatively impact mood.  Sleep-deprivation also heightens anxiety, which can often turn into what feels like a vicious cycle.

While poor sleep can be a symptom of an underlying root cause, the most common cause I see is stress. In order to get your sleep rhythm back on track, here are my top three recommendations:

  1. Limit your intake of sweets, caffeine, and alcohol

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When insulin levels are unable to keep up with the amount of sugar in your blood, your sleep becomes disrupted. By eliminating dessert, coffee or alcohol before bed, you can help to lower your blood sugar, and in turn sleep more restfully.

2. Limit screen time

Dr. Marita Schauch Naturopathic Doctor

Studies show that if we were to live by the sun’s schedule, we would go to bed earlier and rise earlier because our internal and external realities are more in sync. As difficult as it can be to disconnect from technology, the light emitted from screens can disrupt your body’s natural biorhythm, or internal ‘clock.’

Try reading a novel for 30 minutes before bed instead of automatically turning to Netflix or your Instagram feed. Research shows that reading can exponentially improve your ability to reduce stress levels. By starting a bedtime reading routine, your body can begin recognizing it as a signal to wind down and go to sleep.

3. Incorporate natural supplements

Dr. Marita Schauch Blog

Magnesium - this mineral helps calm the nervous system in times of stress and anxiety. It also helps ease the mind when taken before bed, helping you get a good night’s sleep.

Vitamin D -  as Victoria locals, many of us are deficient in vitamin D due to our relatively low sunlight exposure in the fall and winter. Vitamin D boosts the immune system, and can have positive effects on mood. Additionally, studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with poor quality sleep, so upping this intake can help you rest better.

B Vitamins - these vitamins are essential to the regulation of metabolism, neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system as they are found in every cell of the body. B vitamins help to calm the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety that may be impacting your sleep cycle.  As B vitamins can sometimes give you a boost of energy, it is best to take your B’s earlier in the day.

Gaba - this supplement is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that helps to calm the nervous system, increase serotonin, and create a relaxing effect on the body.

Melatonin - this is our natural sleep hormone; if we are not producing enough melatonin, we do not sleep.  Stress and anxiety can disrupt your melatonin production, so it’s important to support the stress response as well.

Tryptophan - this is chemical found in turkey and gives us that relaxed, drowsy feeling after eating it over thanksgiving or christmas. It is the precursor to serotonin and melatonin, and can help break the vicious sleep disrupted cycle.

Still not sleeping?

If you’ve tried these three tips and are still having difficulty sleeping, I can do a thorough investigation to help you overcome any barriers. Book a visit with me and let’s work together to get you sleeping well again.

Riley Webster