A restful night’s sleep is high on my priority list. When I let my body properly rest and recover I instantly feel the difference in my energy levels and in how I look and feel. While missing a few nights of good sleep once in a while isn’t going to break your healthy habits, consistently missing out can have serious implications.
In fact, research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome), which can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had healthy and restful sleep, it might be helpful to consider your lifestyle and diet choices. I’ve put together my top secrets to getting better sleep to help bring your body back into balance:
1. DRINK HERBAL TEAS THAT PROMOTE SLEEP.
Teas such as camomile, mulberry and Oolong have a gentle calming effect on the nervous system and the mind. The refreshing aroma of rose tea has calming effects on the nervous system, providing relief from anxiety and stress. Other teas such as chamomile, passionflower and lavender relax the body, reduce stress and calm the nervous system.
Try Relax + Renew which contains organic lavender buds and peppermint to help calm the nervous system. The addition of organic lemon balm creates a calming effect which helps promote a more restful nights sleep.
2. GET ADEQUATE PROTEIN IN YOUR DIET.
Protein is an essential nutrient to help your body recover and repair. Increasing protein intake can help support high stress levels by stabilising any blood sugar spikes, reducing mood swings, jitteriness and improving sleep. It can also support proper hormone production that is essential to your overall wellbeing.
I often have a glass of chilled almond milk mixed with a spoonful of Healthy Chef protein that is easily assimilated in the body to help me feel satiated and nourished before bedtime.
Protein can also support hormone production such as testosterone, GH or your thyroid which can be suppressed by ageing, stress, lifestyle and poor diet. Hormones such as testosterone help boost lean muscle and bone mass as well as reducing fat mass. It also assists with insulin function and glucose metabolism.
3. DISCOVER THE BENEFITS OF CACAO.
One of nature’s most delicious superfoods, Not only does cacao contain magnesium to help relax blood vessels, improve circulation and blood flow, but the flavonoids in cacao can help to increase nitric oxide production that allows more oxygen flow, as well as help lower blood pressure. Cocoa is also rich in a compound called resveratrol, the same that’s found in red wine. Resveretrol helps to control inflammation and protects your brain as well as calm the nervous system. Research also suggests that resveratrol can support mental health by increasing the brain’s production of feel-good endorphins and serotonin.
This is why I designed Naked Chocolat – it offers the amazing benefits of cocoa without added sugar and tastes delicious, too! I love it in smoothies, raw treats or just on its own blended with almond milk.
4. HAVE A RELAXING BEDTIME RITUAL.
Perhaps one of the most important tips I’ve learnt for a good night’s sleep is learning how to bring my mind and body into a restful state. When I consciously make time to relax, such as having a warm bath scented with lavender essential oil, or turning of the computer at a decent hour, I find that I can get a solid 8 hours of quality sleep. By morning, I feel like I’m ready to attack the next day with renewed energy.
5. STICK TO A NUTRIENT RICH, WHOLEFOOD DIET.
Sleep disturbances can often be caused by an imbalanced diet, which can lead to inflammation in the body. I believe in sticking to a diet that is low inflammatory and low glycaemic, which helps to promote better health and wellbeing. This is easily achieved by choosing to eat lots of nutrient dense foods as close to their natural state as possible.
For example, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are nutritionally more superior to grains and their products, such as pasta and bread.
Avoid alcohol, smoking and sleeping medications as they can create a dependency, interfering with your body’s hormones and neurotransmitters that help promote sleep.