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Do you celebrate a good nights sleep?

Information to help you enjoy a good nights sleep and to acknowledge world sleep day on 15th March

How well do you sleep?, Soundly waking up feeling refreshed leaping out of bed with the enthusiasm of a puppy ready to face the day? Or are you tossing and turning, your mind racing, focussing on your to do list or worse still have not done list and then when it is time to get up wanting to crawl under the duvet with a heavy head and eyes?

Data suggests that insomnia affects 31% of the population, 67% of adults report they have regularly disrupted sleep with 23% regularly sleeping less than 5 hours. Older adults and females are more likely to report sleep disturbance.

In Ayurveda medicine and lifestyle sleep is regarded as one of the 3 pillars of health. Quality Sleep is rejuvenating, healing and disease preventing. In the world today sleep is viewed by many as a necessary evil which gets in the way of achieving more and where .being “too Busy” is celebrated and looked upon by many as successful. Those who love to burn the candle at both ends -watching tv till the small hours and scrolling through social media often scoff at those who are in bed before 10pm.

But over the long term lack of sleep can have a massive detrimental effect of both physical and psychological health. Sleep should be regarded as your best friend, a chance to slow down, regenerate and rejuvenate the amazing machine called your human body that you have been given total responsibility for.

Using nutrition to support your sleep cycle

It is commonly known that stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep. This is linked with the way your liver is nourished!

Other food choices may also be problematic in some individuals. There are also other less common foods that may cause a disruption in sleep. As well as foods that can help support a good restful sleep.

Dry and strong spicy foods such as crisps and crackers, spicy dips such as salsa are not recommended in Ayurveda- so munching on those chilli crisps as you watch the evening TV may not be the best idea (not just for your sleep). Bitter and pungent tasting foods. Plus eating to late- as your digestion needs to rest too.

Missing meals and dieting

Does not help a good nights sleep-As well as dieting not working long term for weight loss. (many of you know my opinions on this)

Dieting also has a detrimental effect on sleep. Those who diet and restrict calories are often hungry. Hormones that support hunger and appetite can be disrupted in sleep deprivation -

The hormone leptin ( the satiety hormone) has been shown to be decreased in sleep deprivation and ghrelin ( the hunger stimulating hormone) has been shown to be increased. So you feel less full and more hungry! A recipe for disaster.

These disruptions can induce greater energy consumption. (Women consuming on average 330, and men 270 more calories).

The motivation to exercise is also reduced- but this should be no surprise- another reason why diets don’t work!

Foods that may help to support quality sleep

Warm, sweet and oily foods – banana, avocado and dairy- ( milk substitutes such as oat milk or soya milk do not count as milk in in Ayurveda)

Sweetness does not mean raiding the biscuit tin and artificial sweeteners are just a NO NO. Sweet spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, cardamon and nutmeg can be added to warm milk for a pre bedtime drink.

This is my own cinnamon and nutmeg latte.

Scientifically, hormonal support of sleep is linked with the amino acid tryptophan, the B vitamins and the minerals zinc and magnesium. The hormone melatonin which is required for sleep is the end product of the biochemical transformation of Tryptophan from food. Melatonin is manufactured from Serotonin which in turn needs good gut health.-

How fascinating that thousands of years ago Ayurveda was discussing these chemicals, and the body clock linked with sunlight and wakefulness -serotonin, and nigh time and sleeping with melatonin.

Other Issues that may affect your sleep

Restless legs, a racing mind, Apnoea, pain, inflammation, indigestion, heart burn, IBS, Hormonal issues - If any of these apply to you, consider discussing a functional medicine approach using nutrition and lifestyle. Pain killers and sleeping tablets will work- they take away the pain and make you sleep, but they do not treat the underlying cause. Working on what is causing your health concerns and lack of sleep and the treating the causes and making long term changes will have a profoundly positive effect.

Chaos in the bedroom!

Do you sleep in a sanctuary of tranquility? Is your bedroom a retreat? The more simplicity in your bedroom the better. Remove clutter, remove electronic gadgets, including Tv's, fold clothes neatly or even better put them away,dim lighting and clean comfortable bedding with a cool temperature and natural air flow will all induce a better quality sleep.

Book a discovery call to find out how I may be able to support you in all areas of your health, not just your sleep.

Take a look at your own personal food choices over a week or a month to establish if you need (or want) to make changes or book a discovery call with me to find out how I can help support you.

Sleep as nature intended

An Ayurveda lifestyle helps us to follow the laws of nature. By aligning your body with the rhythm of nature and by following this natural clock you may be rewarded not only with quality sleep but improved health, vitality and energy.

You may need to make some changes to your routine, diet and lifestyle but you will possibly notice a massive improvement in your energy, alertness, psychological state and ability to actually achieve your goals. Not to mention improved gastrointestinal health, clearer skin, eyes and clarity and focus.

Om shanti and sleep well


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