5 ways to get a better night’s sleep

7 October 2015 by
First published: 29 January 2015

Try adjusting your dinner choice accordingly to work some of these tryptophan-rich foods in.

Finding it hard to unwind after a frantic January? Try these 5 ways to get a better night’s sleep.

1. Relax with magnesium

If you’re feeling a little restless and can’t seem to calm yourself down, try supplementing with magnesium, known as nature’s tranquiliser. It relaxes muscles as well as nerves, bringing your body down to the ideal state to hit the hay. Try Quest Vitamins Synergistic Magnesium (£4.99, questexcellence.com)

2. Eat your way sleepy

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used to make serotonin. ‘Aside from making you feel happier, it’ll also help you sleep better,’ explains Shona Wilkinson, head nutritionist at nutricentre.com. ‘Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, dairy products, bananas, oats and fish.’ Try adjusting your dinner choice accordingly to work some of these tryptophan-rich foods in.

3. Wind down

Simply climbing into bed and shutting your eyes doesn’t always work. Switching off from work, turning off the TV and laptop and avoiding computer games well before bedtime could help your brain to wind down, which is why it’s important to steer clear of stimulating activities before bed.

4. Avoid alcohol

‘Most of us think alcohol is a sedative, but the reality is it actually disrupts sleep and causes night time awakening,’ explains Shona. You can relax the body in a much gentler way with herbal medicines such as valerian, and they certainly won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day either!

5. Supplement smart

If you’re trying to steer clear of the strong stuff like sleeping pills, try supplementing with a natural nutrient like 5-HTP. The substance derives from a medicinal plant and converts directly into serotonin in the brain, which will not only encourage a quality sleep but also boosts efficiency in muscle contraction, temperature regulation and mood – all of which could actually affect sleep hugely. Try Nutri Advanced 5-HTP (£20.49, nutricentre.com).