6 Tips For Better Quality Sleep

6 Tips For Better Quality Sleep

Sleep is so important, it's where we recover, repair and rejuvenate every night. 
I see a lot of clients who don't sleep well for various reasons such as hormonal issues, parasitic infections, stress related issues and babies waking during the night.  

People who sleep less are more likely to have a chronic disease later in life. 

Here are five tips for better quality sleep from a Functional Nutritionist perspective.

1.  No Screens at least 30 minutes before bed.

Bright blue-white light blasting in your face at night isn’t so great for your sleep or general health. It interrupts your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) and stimulates cortisol to be produced at night. You want melatonin to be stimulated and not suppressed as this is your sleep hormone.

Your body won't make melatonin for up to 4 hours if you've been staring at your phone or lap top.  My advise is to not look at screens including T.V., iPhone, ipad or computers at the very least for 30 minutes before bed but preferably longer.  If you must (sometimes I have clients up to 9pm) there are some tools you can use to minimise the negative effect.

iPhone/iPads - now have nightshift switch available which adjusts the color to a more candlelit, non stimulating colour. I have mine set from 7pm to 7am.

Computers - check out f.lux which also minimises blue light.  

Tv - There are no great solutions that I know of yet. You can buy special glasses to wear or just turn the dimmer on in your settings. Otherwise stop watching tv well before bed. 
Since I've stopped staring at screens before bed, my sleep quality is much much better.  

2.  Have a magnesium bath before bed.

Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the associated health benefits. 

 Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins, and help ease migraine headaches. The wonders of Epsom salt have been well known for hundreds of years and, unlike other salts, has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind, and soul. Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating colds and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body.

One of the simplest ways to ease stress and stress-related problems is to soak in a tub full of hot water with a few cups of Epsom Salt.  Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy. Magnesium ions also help you relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline.  They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.

Another great magnesium source to soak in is magnesium chloride. 

In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Magnesium chloride is more easily absorbed then magnesium sulphate which makes the benefits even greater.  

3.  Go to bed early.

Go to bed early!  Every hour you sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight.  It’s actually during the first third of the night that we experience the deepest part of our sleep. We move into deep sleep more rapidly and it’s the phase of sleep during which we’re least likely to be disturbed and wake up. This deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) is the most restorative part of our sleep. We experience low levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as reductions in sympathetic nervous system activity – this is the stimulating activity associated with our ‘fight-or-flight’ responses.

We also experience increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, which is associated with ‘rest and digest’ activity. So, you can see why it does us so much good!  Getting to bed at a time where your body still has energy to burn allows all that life force (Qi) to go towards healing and rebuilding.

4.  Reduce your caffeine intake

No one will like hearing this one but... 'a systemic review observed the abstinence of caffeine on quality of sleep was associated with increased sleep quality and duration..' (Hechtman, 2014)

Caffeine is a stimulant, we all know this, that's why we have it. If you do drink coffee or tea, try not to after midday.  Especially if you're a slow metaboliser of caffeine, it will stay in your system for hours. If you're a fast metaboliser, it will be out of your system in just a few hours.  Dark chocolate is a trap people fall into having after dinner. Yes, dark chocolate is better for you than others but it has a higher content of caffeine. Just a few pieces can impact sleep quality. The same goes for raw cacao. Avoid at night if you can. 

5.  Rule out any gut infection

Parasites, especially the ones that prefer to nest in the intestinal tract, can cause a host of sleep disorders such as insomnia. Parasites affect the nervous system as well, giving rise to sleep disorders. All through the night, the body is hard at work eliminating toxins through the liver.

Parasites are known to upset this routine, changing the body’s rhythm. Some parasites cause a great deal of itching around the anal area, disrupting sleep and causing discomfort to the person.

If you are waking up around 3am most mornings, this is a good indication you gave an infection and you should test. 

You can test your circadian rhythm through a saliva test which measures cortisol and melatonin to see exactly what is happening with your sleep hormones.   

We also test for parasites, bacteria over growth and fungus overgrowth and then set an individual protocol to regain good gut health. 

6.  Essential oils proven to help

For the bath – combine 5 drops geranium and 5 drops lavender with ¼ cup therapeutic bath salts, dissolve in bath to help promote a good nights sleep. 
Diffuse into the air – Lavendar, restful blend, spikenard, roman chamomile or majoram. 
Apply topically – with a carrier oil to the spine, bottoms of the feet, arms and legs.  Lavender, restful blend, spikenard, roman chamomile or majoram.
If you need essential oils I have an account you can sign up with to get wholesale prices.
The most popular starter kit is the Home Essentials Kit. There is no minimum monthly ordering, no requirement to share or sell on Or you can just buy individual oils as you like or once off.
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If you can start implementing some of these into your sleep routine, you will improve your sleep which will have a flow on positive impact on your hormones and help to rein in the chaos!!

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