The Trick to Good Sleep is More Than Just Warm Milk and Honey?


Sleep is important for your physical and mental well-being.

According to a National Sleep Foundation 2016 Survey, Australians only sleep six hours a night, waking twice for visits to the lavatory, stress or noise.

As health professionals, we recommend eight hours per night, however anything between six and 10 hours is considered normal.

Consequences of Not Sleeping Enough

Lack of sleep effects work performance, memory and decision-making and increase your risk of traffic accidents and low mood.

Additionally, sleep deprivation may be the reason you aren’t able to shed those last few kilograms.

Studies have shown that long-term lack of sleep, increases your cortisol (Stress hormone) levels and decreases your production of Ghrelin (the hormone responsible for satiety) resulting in unhealthy food cravings and binge eating patterns.

Causes of Poor Sleep

Sleeplessness can be caused by environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, bright lights and noise.

Stress and anxiety can result in restlessness, with waking at 2am often being related to anxiety and depression.

Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as well as rich, fatty or spicy food can also cause broken sleep.

Recommendations

  • Maintain a rhythm by going to bed and wake at the same time every day, even on weekends.

  • Make your bedroom cool and dark. Keep the temperature between 15 and 20 degrees.

  • Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy. If you study, watch TV, socialise or work in your bed. Your mind will stop associating it with rest and relaxation.

  • Avoid afternoon naps and limit morning naps to 20-30 minutes.

  • Improve sleep quality by getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week.

  • The evidence for warm milk and honey to help with sleep remains inconclusive, however milk does contain tryptophan, which promotes the production of Melatonin (our sleep hormone) and an extra serve of good quality dairy, never hurt anyone.

  • Turn electronic devices off an hour before bed, this will help boost melatonin levels.

  • Essential oils such as chamomile, Lavender and Bergamot can promote relaxation and rest.

  • Meditate or practice deep breathing exercises before bed.