Have a more restful sleep tonight

20 April 2017 by
First published: 28 January 2016

Many of us live off little sleep; walking through life as though the only effect of sleep deprivation is fatigue. When in actual fact, not getting enough sleep has been directly correlated with impaired body functioning, weakened metabolism, and even type two diabetes.

Sleep is the time of day when our energy reserves are stored in preparation for the next day. Research not only shows that sleep deprivation compromises weight management, but also cognition and mental health. Those of us who go through life frantic, nervous, and anxious could do with dose of restorative sleep to promote a calm and tranquil outlook. With type two diabetes threatening a vast amount of the population, it is time for us to take our quality of sleep more seriously – to support our metabolism and weight regulatory systems.

Here are five tips to ensure that when your head hits the pillow it stays there long enough to restore your body and mind so you can have a more restful sleep tonight:


Proper nutrition is key for promoting sufficient body functioning, which in turn has a significant impact on our sleep cycle. Getting adequate minerals and vitamins through diet supports the pineal gland to produce melatonin, which establishes our sleep cycle. When our sleep cycle is supported, melatonin will peak at night causing drowsiness, which prepares us for quality sleep.


Alcohol has an interesting relationship with sleep. Although most people feel they fall asleep more quickly after a glass of wine, research shows that alcohol actually impairs our quality of sleep. Specifically, the second half of our sleep becomes restless and disrupted after alcohol consumption, draining our energy reserves and inhibiting restoration.


My clients find that one of the most helpful pieces of advice is to create a sleep routine. Having a regular bedtime and wake-up time is the foundation of any good sleep routine. Once you’ve got those two areas under control, implementing relaxing evening practices will communicate with your brain that it is time for sleep. These practices might include a hot shower to relax your neck muscles, a bath to calm your body, or a camomile tea to relax your digestive system. Do this same routine every night for a more rapid time of falling asleep and a higher quality of sleep.


A simple but effective tip for increasing the quality and longevity of your sleep is to avoid LCD screens two hours before bed. Our cell phones, tablets, and computer screens all are lit with LCD light, which reduces the production of the hormone melatonin, preventing drowsiness at bedtime.


Caffeine reduction after lunch is another practical tip to implement into your busy day. Research shows that caffeine can stay in your system for anywhere between six to ten hours. Therefore, if you drink a long black at 4pm it’s likely that around 10pm you’ll still be wired, making it difficult to fall asleep. I always suggest to my clients that they keep caffeine to a minimum and only consume it during the morning.