The Brunswick Centre newsletter recently included an excellent article on sleep. The Brunswick Centre was the name given to Calderdale HIV/AIDS Link (CHAL) in 2002 when it extended it’s HIV services into Kirklees.
Why not visit their website for lots more top tips, to donate to them, or to read about the great work they do.
Who wouldn’t benefit from a really good night’s sleep?
Here are a few great ideas Isabel learnt on the course that you might find useful…
Some foods are great for waking us up, whilst other foods can help us to relax. An hour before bed have a light supper, here are some good choices.
Milk or a banana. These both contain an essential amino acid called tryptophan which can help us to regulate our sleep / wake cycle. Milk is also rich in calcium which can reduce feelings of stress, and bananas contain potassium, a natural muscle relaxant. Try a mug of hot milk. Long used as a bedtime drink, but sadly not hot chocolate as this contains sugar, a stimulant.
Cherries and cherry juice. These can boost our levels of the hormone melatonin, used to help regulate our sleep cycle, taken in the evening it can help us to wind down, allowing the body to prepare for sleep.
Oats. Another food rich in tryptophan, helping us to produce the sleepy hormone serotonin. Porridge made with oats and milk is a great supper (again, no added sugar though sorry!)
GET INTO A ROUTINE – IT REALLY DOES HELP!
This is all about tuning into our natural circadian rhythms, the cycles our body follows through the day, ideally so that we are awake and alert during the day and tired, ready for sleep when it’s night time. Here are some things that might help you.
Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, avoiding lie-ins. During the day try to get out in the fresh air and the sun light, this helps to regulate your body clock.
Limit your use of technology (tablets, phones, laptops etc) as these emit a light that triggers an alert response in your body so will make your mind busy and body less inclined to sleep. It’s a good idea to turn off your devices at least an hour before bed time.
Make sure the room you sleep in is relaxing and comfortable, and most people find a cooler room better for sleep. Spend the hour before bed winding down. Try these – listen to calm music; have a bath; try a guided relaxation; read something soothing (maybe not a gripping thriller!).
Journaling before bed has been shown to decrease distractions, overthinking and worry. Writing out a to-do list for the following day can also be useful.
One thing that’s worth remembering too is that it takes time to get into a new habit, just because your new sleep routine doesn’t work first time, don’t give up, be consistent and hopefully you should see the changes you want within a couple of weeks.