I really love September, it’s that time of year when things start to happen, kids go back to school, the leaves start changing colours and we can get back into some sort of routine. As much as I love the relaxed feeling that summer brings, I’m also very ready to have a certain structure to my days. Studies have shown that our bodies are more productive when they have a regular sleep/wake cycle. However, some people can find it hard getting back into a routine, trying to get to bed and then to sleep, can be challenging. I’m sure you’ve done it as well, you go up to bed, your iPad in tow, thinking at 10.30 I’ll turn it off. You see an article, you read it, and then you see something else you just want to check out and before you know it, you’re down that rabbit hole and when you next look at the time, it’s almost midnight! We know that these devices affect the secretion of melatonin, which is the hormone, that helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle.
I’ve tried all sorts of things to avoid the rabbit hole but it’s tricky. The best thing for me is it to leave my iPad downstairs. In fact, the more I do this, the more relaxed I feel before going to bed and I sleep so much better for it.
The time at which we eat is another factor that can also impact our quality of sleep. We don’t always think about it, but eating a heavy meal late in the evening, is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Digestion requires hard work on behalf of our body, to process and use all the energy in the food. Instead of your body being able to slow down, you’re asking it to get to work! So if you eat late in the evening and then soon after go to bed, your body hasn’t had time to do its work. Ideally, you should have your evening meal about 3 hours before bedtime. Also, foods such as red meat require more effort and time to be properly digested. If you do enjoy a steak, maybe accompany it with some roasted vegetables instead of fries or rice. The combination of red meat and starchy foods when eaten together place more stress on our digestive system than the protein and vegetable combination.
Herbal teas, can not only help with digestion but will also be the starting block, in creating a relaxing evening routine. From chamomile and lavender teas to liquorice root tea, these will all help the body to slowly unwind. If you find yourself craving something sweet in the evening, bananas are a great option as they are full of magnesium, which is known to be a calming mineral and will also help with muscle stiffness and help relax the body.
So here’s to a good night’s sleep, Susan.