If you’re one of the 60% of adults mainlining caffeine at your desk this morning because you had a rubbish nights sleep again last night your immune system will be compromised, your memory will be poor and your life expectancy is five years less than your colleague who sleeps well most nights.

Poor quality sleep creates hormone imbalance, makes healthy weight loss very difficult and will worsen any signs of menopause you’re experiencing.

The good news is that modern day sleep issues can be quite easily resolved.

There are two key areas you need to focus on for a good night’s sleep: nutrition and routine.

The Right Nutrition for a good night’s sleep

  • Good quality protein to allow melatonin to be produced effectively. Good quality proteins include chicken, turkey and quinoa.
  • Include some complex carbohydrates in your evening meal, this will result in the release of some insulin and that insulin moves amino acids into your cells to be used for bodily repair and the production of melatonin. Have a sweet potato with your evening meal.
  • Potassium to keep your cells fully hydrated. A good source is pink rock salt taken with some water in the early evening.
  • Vitamin C in large quantities to help with the production of human growth hormone. Eat oranges, limes and grapefruits throughout the day.
  • Melatonin is essential for a good nights sleep. Good sources of melatonin include goji berries, almonds, seeds (sesame, black, pumpkin), coriander and cherries. Have a handful of cherries and almonds about an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep your blood sugars balanced throughout the course of the day. Eat within an hour of waking, have a healthy snack mid morning and mid afternoon, don’t skip lunch, and have dinner around 3 hours before bedtime.

The Right Bedtime Routine for a good night sleep

  • Keep consistent bed time and waking patterns in line with the natural release and drop off of cortisol. That’s up at 6am and bed at 10pm!
  • 10.15pm is actually the optimum bedtime because that’s when cortisol drops right off and melatonin should be peaking.
  • No caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime.
  • Your bedroom should be pitch black and cool. 64 degrees is the optimum temperature for women and their hormones!
  • Wear cool, loose clothing so that any temperature change during your REM sleep stage won’t wake you.
  • No blue light after 7pm which tells the brain that its still daytime and shouldn’t produce melatonin. So switch off those tablets, phones, computers and even the TV.
  • Dim the lights from around 8pm to help your body relax and wind down.

It’s modern day lifestyles and the relentless stress we’re under that’s facilitating poor sleep patterns in so many of us. Emails, texts and endless meetings all conspire to stress us out and disrupt natural cortisol levels. So tonight do yourself a favour, breathe, relax and choose a couple of actions from the nutrition and routine lists above. Apply them consistently and you’ll soon feel brighter, lighter and refreshed. If you know someone who’s struggling with their sleep be sure to share this post with them.