Ever find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee when you’re tired? Or packaged sweets during an arvo energy slump? Skipping the gym because you’re not feeling up to it? We all know that sleep is essential for good health, but many people don’t realise that a lack of sleep can cause you to pack on the kilos.
When you do not get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin; a hormone in your brain that creates hunger. A lack of sleep also leads to a decrease in leptin; the hormone that keeps you fuller for longer. The excess of ghrelin and lack of leptin in your body leaves you unsatiated and more vulnerable to eating processed ‘convenience’ food!
A major cause of sleep deprivation is having trouble falling and staying asleep. Our ability to fall asleep is connected to what we do during the day, so it’s important to optimise your day for a better night. Here’s how to improve your sleep:
SHUT DOWN THE SCREENS
Avoid watching TV or looking at your phone for 30 minutes to an hour before bed. These devices emit blue light which affects the quality of your sleep. Instead, opt to read a book or take some time alone to wind down before bed.
TRY BANANA TEA
Sounds weird, but drinking tea made from banana peel helps calm your nervous system and relax your muscles due to the potassium and magnesium in bananas. To make banana peel tea, boil the peel of one banana in 1.5 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain out the peel and mix in ¼ tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon before serving.
Ever found yourself tossing and turning come summer? That’s because your body heat peaks in the evening, before dropping to its lowest levels as you fall asleep. Keeping your bedroom cool (but not too cold) will help you fall (and stay!) asleep.
TRY VALERIAN ROOT
Known as ‘nature’s valium’, valerian is one of the most popular natural remedies to cure insomnia. Speak to your healthcare professional about taking valerian as a tea or in supplement form.
Exercising during the day help tire out your body, leading to better sleep at night. Spend at least 20-30 minutes doing something active, however avoid exercising for four hours before going to bed as exercise can stimulate your system and keep you awake.
Sipping on a cup of herbal tea before bed is a soothing bedtime ritual. Chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm teas all help with promoting good sleep and reducing anxiety and stress.
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