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Wellness with Natalie: Top tips for a good night's sleep

Sleep is one of the most critical processes your body performs, yet somehow so many of us take pride in the fact that “we can operate on less than _____ (fill in the blank) hours of sleep”.

Well actually, sorry to be the bearer of bad news….NO YOU CANNOT!

When you do not get sufficient sleep, you may be able to function - but you are not functioning optimally, nor are you protecting yourself for the future.

What do I mean by that? Well, brain fog, memory loss, loss of mental acuity are all short term signs of sleep deprivation which you may not notice in your 30s and early 40s. But once you start to get up there in age it becomes noticeable.

And for those of us who care about physical appearances, you actually look older when you don’t sleep enough.

Now here’s MY CHALLENGE. How do I convince a teenager or a 20-something that the sleep they are depriving themselves of now will make their brain age faster when they are older, and make you look older? Do I show you the facts?

Studies show that the brains of those who get less than six hours of sleep per night actually do age faster, memory loss is likely, mental acuity does go. If I show you them, will you read them? Well perhaps not because cigarette boxes say “This Will Kill You” and people still smoke. SO, the choice as always really lies with you.

Top Tips for Optimal sleep

SET THE STAGE – Ensure bedroom lights are yellow lights and not daylight white lights. Remove the TV from the bedroom. Use black-out drapes and a fan or A/C as it's best to sleep in a dark, cool, quiet room with no device lights like the glow from a charger or a printer.

ENSURE YOUR BRAIN REST – Avoid the news or violent TV shows before bed, make a list of any thoughts floating in your head that may prevent sleep, turn off your WiFi router, set phone to silent and charge somewhere away from your bedside. Purchase an actual alarm clock.

EAT FOR SLEEP – Ensuring you get adequate potassium, calcium, magnesium, tryptophan and omega 3 is important while avoiding foods high in sugars, caffeine and acidity. I love teas with herbs that encourage sleep as well.

SET A ROUTINE – We need 6-8 hours per night so have a bedtime routine that allows you to get the sleep you need. A cool shower if you are too hot, or a warm bath if you’re hyper is also beneficial. Read a PAPER book, not a back lit device. Write in your journal, focusing on what went well in your day, what you are grateful for. It’s also best to try to sleep and wake at the same time every day.

If you need help optimizing your sleep, my partner (Robert Casserly) and I are available for consultations.

Originally published by Loop

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