Whether you’re tossing and turning in the third trimester, waking up to a teething baby or simply wired from your working day, you are not alone. In the UK, nearly a third of the population is suffering from insomnia and one in five feel drained all the time.
Rather than giving in to coffee, carbs and procrastination, take these steps to wake up your system and reclaim the day.
Experience the Power of Cold
In the shower, try switching between hot and cold water for the last two minutes. When you alternate your body’s exposure to hot and cold water, your lymph vessels dilate and contract to “pump” fluid that may have stagnated in the system. Not only will this leave you feeling alert, awake and aware, but it’s a powerful detox tool. When you’re chronically sleep-deprived your elimination system slows down and this will help bring it back to speed.
A Matcha latte – or simply a mug of builders – is a much better choice than coffee the next day. Why? The caffeine in tea is released more slowly – thanks to the tannins – so you don’t get a buzz then a crash. Plus, the antioxidants in tea help fight the free radical damage caused by sleep deprivation. Finally, coffee robs the body of magnesium. This mineral is like a sleeping pill for the system and is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser.’
Can’t resist that ham and cheese croissant? People who sleep only four hours are more likely to choose high-carbohydrate, sugary and starchy foods over healthier choices, according to researchers from the University of Chicago.
Give your body the nourishment it needs by choosing nutrient dense carbs instead – like brown rice, quinoa and sweet potato. These foods will not only keep your blood sugar balanced, they will also help produce more sleep-inducing hormones, thanks to the B vitamins. Pair with good quality protein to sustain your energy for longer; wild salmon, full of calming omega-3 fatty acids would be a perfect choice.
Bath time shouldn’t be all about babies. A steaming soak before bed can help you nod off in two ways.
Firstly, when you emerge from a hot bath*, your temperature naturally drops. This signals to your body to release melatonin, the sleep hormone. Add in a cup full of magnesium salts – or Epsom salts – and you are really boosting your odds of a good night’s rest. Why? Magnesium is crucial for muscle relaxation, energy production as well as lowering the stress hormone cortisol. With up to 75% of the population deficient in magnesium, it’s one to be aware of. If you’re scared running the bath will wake up your baby, then rub magnesium oil on your adrenal glands – located on your lower back – before bed instead.
For those reading this with eyes half open, that’s a cold shower, hot bath, green tea and good carbs… and a silent prayer your baby/bump behaves himself tonight.
*Steaming baths not recommended for pregnant women.
Laura Bond is a journalist and nutritional health coach. She provides clients with recipes, plans and practical information to help them rediscover their optimum energy and vitality.