Insomnia can either be classified as transient, meaning it lasts for less than one month and usually due to stressors or environmental change. Or chronic insomnia, meaning it lasts for more than one month and can either be due to physical or psychological conditions (e.g injury inhibiting restful sleep or anxiety keeping you awake) or quite often the insomnia arises for no apparent reason.
The quality of your night impacts on the quality of your day, and getting a restful sleep is just as crucial to health as diet and exercise. While we sleep our body is undergoing; detoxification, growth, repair, maintenance, our immune system is getting re-booted and our hormones balanced.
Here are a few tips to increase your sleep quality so that your body can keep on top of these tasks:
1. Minimise your consumption of caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks), especially after midday. Caffeine causes stress hormones such as cortisol to be released this is what keeps you alert and awake, but if you are someone who struggles with sleep these hormones could be inhibiting your mind from switching off at night.
2. Get some sunshine, 15 minutes a day of sunshine helps to stimulate your pineal gland to release melatonin. This hormone is in charge of your sleep-wake cycle.
3. Eat foods high in GABA. GABA is described as our brains ‘natural chill pill’ it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter helping to calm anxiety and stress, bringing about a restful sleep. These foods are: Almonds, Tree nuts, Bananas, Broccoli, Brown rice and Fish.
4. Avoid eating too late, allowing 2-3 hours between dinner and sleep is best. This improves your digestion as well as the quality of your sleep.
5. Herbal teas such as Chamomile, Passionflower and lemon verbena have been shown to promote relaxation and may assist in encouraging restful sleep.