Magnesium: How To Sleep Well
Is poor sleep affecting your health?
If you ticked 3 or more items from the checklist, it’s likely that lack of sleep is affecting your health:
Sleep is crucial to health, safety and overall wellbeing. Not getting enough impacts the brain, hormones and body cells and can lead to problems with mood, relationships and work performance. Chronic stress, low magnesium and alterations in the sleepwake cycle can all negatively impact sleep.
The effects start straight away with just one night of sleep disruption known to trigger chemical changes in the body. Lack of sleep also increases inflammation and raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, stroke and even car accidents.
What can you do about it?
• Reduce caffeine & alcohol consumption
• Reduce your intake of refined sugary foods & drinks
• Follow a blood sugar balance diet to counter some of the harmful effects of sleep deprivation
• Include magnesium-rich and calming superfoods in your diet
• Avoid eating large meals before bedtime as well as new foods that you haven’t tried before such as spicy foods.
• Have a calming ‘sleepy’ snack before bedtime (read on for more details)
• Magnesium is often nicknamed ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and supports healthy sleep.
• Choose magnesium glycinate as this form is optimally absorbed. Tablets are convenient, whilst a powdered supplement facilitates a higher dose.
• Combinations with tryptophan, theanine, hops, lemon balm and Lactium® may give advanced support where needed.
• Identify any sources of stress and take steps to reduce these wherever you can.
• Chemical messengers called serotonin and melatonin help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and low levels can lead to restless sleep. Melatonin is often called the ‘hormone of darkness’ as it is produced in the body in response to dark and its production is suppressed in the light. This is why it is crucial to ensure a dark sleeping environment.
• Do 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily (apps like Headspace or Calm are great for this).
• Incorporate regular gentle exercise into your week - swimming, walking, jogging, yoga and pilates are all highly beneficial (nothing too stimulating in the evening though and don’t exercise after 7pm).
• Pay particular attention to sleep hygiene, for example restrict screen time before bed (read on for more suggestions).
Blood sugar balance diet:
• Start the day with breakfast and eat a meal or snack every 2-3 hours.
• Make it complex - For every meal and snack, combine carbohydrates (wholegrains, fruits & vegetables) with protein (poultry, fish, lean meat, dairy, beans, chickpeas & lentils) and fat (oily fish, nuts and seeds and their oils, avocado, olives).
Meal & sleepy snack suggestions:
• Scrambled eggs & avocado on wholegrain toast
• Carrot & lentil soup with oatcakes & cheese
• Grilled salmon, roasted vegetables, leafy greens, pine nuts & quinoa
• Oatcakes topped with nut butter & sliced banana (top sleepy snack!)
• Chopped fruit, live yoghurt, nuts, seeds & ground cinnamon
• Smoothie made with milk, plain yoghurt, frozen berries,banana, raw cacao powder & ground flaxseeds
• Routine – Develop a regular pattern to train your body to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will help to set your body’s internal clock.
• Establish a pre-sleep routine – Develop helpful sleep rituals to remind your body it is time to sleep. For example a warm bath (add a couple of drops of lavender), breathing exercises, reading and relaxation.
• Create a sleep-inducing bedroom environment – Your bedroom should be quiet,dark, comfy, not too hot or cold and free from smartphones and tablets, work documents and clutter.
• Avoid daytime naps – If you must nap during the day, make it less than an hour and before 4pm.
• Get up & try again – If you can’t sleep after 20 mins, get up and do something quiet and restful, such as reading in dim light, then try again.
How to make changes that last:
• Make it public – Tell other people your plans.
• Be specific & set a timeline – Work out what, how and when you’re going to change.
• One small step at a time – Change is infectious, one change soon leads to another and more. Start small with something you absolutely cannot fail at.
• Feedback / accountability – Track your own progress (pen & paper, app etc.) and find a buddy who will hold you accountable.
• Change your environment to match your goals. For example, if you don’t want to drink wine in the evening, don’t meet your friends in the pub. If you want to take a daily magnesium supplement, place the tub on the kitchen worktop as a visual reminder each morning.
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