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Unlocking a Restful Sleep

We all speak about how important getting over 7 hours of sleep is. However, many of us struggle to settle down and close our eyes. Many factors go into a restful sleep. Before you try and get your seven hours you need to determine what is helping you and what is hurting your sleep.

If you’re struggling to fall/stay asleep or noticing you’re more tired than usual, keeping a food and sleep diary to track your food/beverage intake (including time of day) and your sleep patterns can be helpful. This can help you to identify if any foods/beverages may be interfering with your sleep. 

There are many ways nutrition can help support your restful sleep:

  • Eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates & fibre, and fat. Including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as these foods contain nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6 (all essential for good sleep).

  • Avoid eating larger meals, meals higher in fat, or snacks higher in sugar right before bed. Instead, choose a balanced snack that includes fibre and protein like an unsweetened Greek yoghurt with berries.

  • Limit caffeine. Ideally, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evenings if your sleep is affected. 

  • Limit/avoid alcohol intake a few hours before bedtime.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Outside of nutrition, there are other ways to potentially improve your sleep:

  • Turn your bedroom into an oasis (aka a space where you’re comfortable, ideal for sleeping), getting rid of clutter and work-related items.

  • Avoid screen time 2-3 hours before bedtime (turn off the TV/laptop, and stop scrolling… I know it’s easier said than done!)

  • Go to bed around the same time every night (choose a time you typically get tired).

  • Studies have shown that keeping your sleep environment between 62-68 degrees will quicken the transition from light sleep into mentally & physically restorative sleep.

  • Keep it DARK. You can try a sleep mask, or blackout curtains, and make sure to shut off or cover anything that emits light (i.e. computer monitor).

  • If you must have a light on, try using a dim red light.

  • For some, exercising too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep. Aim to end your exercise at least 4 hours before your bedtime.

  • Incorporate a nighttime meditation to help relax your nervous system and calm your mind.



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