Eat well. Sleep well

Someone recently asked me if good nutrition was more important than good sleep.

My answer: it depends on how much sleep you’ve had.

The quality of my sleep is poor at the moment. My two-year-old only sleeps vertically and likes to kick-box my face. And then the dogs scratch Hendrix-strum style thanks to a mosquito that managed to slip indoors weeks ago. I’ve come face-to-face with it post-midnight more than once.

Sleep depravation can feel like torture. It sets the day off badly. And often leads to double dosing on caffeine. By midday our adrenals are screaming for . . . not sure what, anything soothing – usually bad food. This impacts our sleep. Again. Sleep is essential, but what we eat can have such a significant impact on kip quality. So while the two are tightly linked we can start to break the bad sleep cycle by choosing good nutrition.

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Here are six steps to heavenly sleep: 

  1. Our day roughly looks like this: work, rest, sleep. Rest is important as it allows the body to wind down in preparation for a good night’s sleep
  2. Switch devices off an hour before bed. We know this already, so at least put the dim thingy on if you can’t bear to part ways
  3. Take a magnesium supplement. It helps the body to relax. Powdered form absorbs more easily
  4. Don’t go to bed hungry (or too full). Have a rounded teaspoon of your favourite organic nut butter to see you through 
  5. Meditate. Or download a free guided meditation app, such as Relax Lite or Yoga Nidra. It doesn't have to be before bed, whenever you can fit it in. Daily
  6. Drink camomile tea an hour before bed. Save a couple of sips for if you wake up in the night; it’ll soothe you back to sleep.

If you wake up in the night

Try four square nose breathing

  • Breathe in for four seconds. Hold for four seconds. Out for four. Hold for four
  • Repeat. Increase to five seconds, six, and so on… you’ll rarely make it past eight roundzzz

Try these restorative yoga poses for around five minutes

  1. Place your legs up on the bedhead or wall, lie back, breathe
  2. Sit upright with your back against the bedhead, stretch your legs out in front of you into a diamond shape, souls of feet touching. Slump forward. Use a pillow as support if you like. Breathe slowly through the nose