Vitamins and Other Tips to Improve your Sleep
By Armin Ghojehvand| Founder of Vitamin Buddy and Nutritional Therapist
Most of us have had trouble with our sleeping routines at some point in our lives. In fact, according to all Vitamin Buddy quiz respondents, almost 50% of us struggle to get to sleep on a regular basis and a whopping 75% find it hard getting out of bed in the mornings.
So what can you do to get a good night’s sleep, wake up feeling fresh and raring to go? Check out our latest blog post below which looks at 3 key vitamins and minerals and a handful of lifestyle tips to turn you into a morning person and improve any trouble sleeping.
3 Vitamins Vital for Good Sleep
- We love magnesium and most of us are not getting enough of it. Magnesium is critical to so many things our bodies do, and sleep is no exception, helping with both fatigue and stress reduction.
- Magnesium also helps our bodies relax as it can reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. It helps to relax your muscles, and calms the nervous system.
- Not getting enough magnesium in your diet can often make you feel agitated throughout the night, which means you’ll wake up more frequently and sleep less deeply. All of this will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, making it all the more difficult to wake up in the morning and feeling refreshed.
- B3 (Niacin) can decrease REM (Rapid Eye Movement) whilst you are sleeping and can prevent how often you wake up during the night, and in some cases even help with depression.
- Many of the B vitamins help regulate the use of trytophan, which helps the body produce the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.
- B6 (Pyridoxine) helps your body produce serotonin – this hormone makes you feel happy, and also calms the body to help you sleep easier. B6 also prevents you from creating excess adrenaline at night, which can lead to insomnia.
- Calcium is a natural relaxant. Mainly known for it’s role in bone health, it can also help give you a deep sleep by relaxing the brain.
- Calcium also helps to manufacture melatonin, and is known to calm the nervous system.
- Caffeine and soft drinks deplete your calcium levels, making it harder to fall asleep so maybe it’s time to think about cutting down your caffeine intake.
5 Lifestyle Tips to Improve Your Sleep
1. Improve your light exposure
- Increase your bright light exposure during the day. Natural light affects both your brain and your body, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to hit the hay. Daily sunlight improves both your sleep quality and duration, especially those with major sleep issues.
- Decease your blue light exposure in the evening. Staring at a screen, blasting blue light at you, tricks your body clock into thinking it’s day time, reducing its ability to create melatonin. Try to put screens away 2 hours before sleep, or, failing that, adjust your phone settings to block blue light.
2. Exercise during the day
- If you exercise at the right time, you’ll have more energy in the day, and sleep better at night.
- Exercise speeds up your metabolism, increases your body temperature and stimulates hormones such as cortisol, so it’s important you don’t work out too close to bed-time.
- The more vigorous you exercise, the better you sleep, although even light daily exercise for 10-15 minutes will improve your sleep quality.
3. Set a regular sleeping pattern
- If you wake up and go to bed at regular times your body clock will set itself accordingly as your circadian rhythm aligns itself with sunrise and sunset.
- Doing this will be really hard at first – but if you commit to going to bed (doesn’t mean falling asleep, just go to bed) and waking up (and actually getting out of bed!) at the same time for a couple of weeks, your sleep quality will drastically improve.
4. Get into a chill out routine in the evenings
- Our days are busy and hectic. Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax and calm the mind. These can be anything – 30 minutes of chilled out yoga; reading a book; having a hot bath; listening to music; or meditation techniques. Do whatever works for you.
- Relaxation techniques have been shown to improve sleep quality, and are a common technique used to cure insomnia.
- Mix it up a little – try one thing one week, and another the next – see what works best for you.
5. Improve your sleeping environment
- Small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.
- One study investigating the bedroom environment of women found that around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when reductions in noise and lighting were introduced.
- To improve your bedroom environment, aim to keep noise down, reduce artificial lights (e.g. screens and alarm clocks), keep your room cool, and make sure your bed is nice and comfy.
- If you live somewhere where it’s tricky to keep noise and light down (e.g. on a busy road), try out ear plugs and a sleep mask.
Ultimately, different techniques work for different people. Try out one at a time and see what works best for you. If you have any sleeping tips that have worked for you, be sure to share them with us on our Facebook Page.