By Dr Estelle De Beer, Naturopathic Doctor at SleepDrops International, c/o Health 2000
There’s never been a more important time to protect your mental health. While stress-busting activities like meditation can help, prioritising your sleep is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to help you wake up with a stronger mindset, ready to face any day.
Deep, restorative sleep is essential for building the hormones and neurotransmitters that help you regulate your mood, emotions and stress, which is why even one sleepless night can leave you feeling grumpy, irrational, anxious or stressed. An increase in stress can then make it even harder to sleep - it’s a vicious cycle!
Prioritising your sleep starts with a regular circadian rhythm to keep your whole body and mind happier. Your circadian rhythm loves consistency, so establishing a routine with regular meals, sun exposure, exercise and sleep times will help set you up for great health and a good night’s sleep.
If you are struggling to sleep, there are effective, natural nutrients to support a balanced nervous system, switch off your busy or worried mind, and support you to go to sleep and get back to sleep faster. These include tart cherry - a natural source of the sleep hormone, melatonin - and magnesium, which feeds your deep sleep pathways and can help you sleep through the night. Supplementing a healthy diet with therapeutic doses of vitamin C, zinc and B vitamins also support balanced stress hormones that often interfere with sleep.
Tips for the morning:
• Set a wake time and bedtime and stick to it, ideally before 10pm
• Expose your eyes to direct sunlight for at least 15 minutes in the morning
• Move during the morning, rather than at night, to avoid physical activity affecting sleep.
Tips for food & drink:
• Limit your caffeine intake to one cup before 12pm
• Eat a balanced dinner at least two hours before bed to help maintain blood sugar levels throughout the night
• Limit your sugar and fluid intake before bed.
Tips for at night:
• Dim the lights after dinner to help your brain produce the sleep hormone, melatonin
• Switch off from all screens at least one hour before bed
• Unwind with a bath with magnesium salts
• Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool (optimal temperature is 18 degrees)
• Invest in earplugs and an eye mask
• Put a notepad beside your bed to note anything on your mind.
Talk to the local health specialists at Health 2000 to find products to support you to sleep soundly and wake up with a stronger mindset, ready to make the most of any day.