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So the lavender oil didn’t quite cut it. Tired and wired? Mind is racing with 10 tasks to do tomorrow, and you’re counting back the hours left to get enough sleep? This is enough to keep anyone up. However, when we get to the science behind insomnia, we uncover how easy it is to get quality REM sleep (rapid eye movement) and slip into the abyss. 

 If you’re a restless sleeper, or have trouble slipping off, then try these three tips for sweet dreams and more energy throughout the day. 

  1. AVOIDING BLUE WAVE LIGHTS 

 Did you know that phones, computers and TV’s produce a blue light that prevents us from falling asleep? This light tricks our brains into think it’s daylight, interrupting our natural circadian rhythm and preventing melatonin production; the sleep neurotransmitter. 

 There are two key things you can do to prevent this.

1: Avoid screen time at least one hour before bed. If you’re reading a book, you can also use filtered ‘warmer’ lights.
2: Use the night-shift mode or orange light on your phone or computer. However, don’t forget that the stimuli of scrolling Facebook and Instagram late at night is also counterintuitive to switching off.   

  1. MAKING YOUR NEUROTRANSMITTERS WORK 

As mentioned, melatonin induces sleep. But there are a few nutrient-dependent steps to allow us to use it: 

Tryptophan – 5-HTP – serotonin – MELATONIN

 These steps are limited by not having enough ‘ingredients’ (co-factors) for production. It’s like trying to bake a chocolate cake without cocoa. 

So firstly, how do we get more tryptophan? 

 TRYPTOPHAN SOURCES: 

  • Complete proteins: meats, fish, eggs, quinoa 
  • Pumpkin seeds (also source of zinc) 
  • Chickpeas and soybeans 
  • Potatoes 
  • Bananas
  • Spirulina 
  • Oats 
  • Cheese (go easy on the dairy, especially if it causes upsets)

Now we have to get to serotonin – the ‘happy chemical’. 

 Serotonergic nutrients include B6, zinc, magnesium, folic acid and vitamin C. As these nutrients are readably used up in stress or can be inhibited by genetic factors, we often supplement with practitioner-grade nutrients to get those levels up. 

 It’s also important to know that 80% of serotonin is created in the gut. Thus poor gut function equals poor sleep and bad moods. 

  1. SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION APPS 

 This should be your go-to any night of the week.  

 Mindfulness, meditation or self-hypnosis can significantly improve sleep quality. This is especially useful for those who are struggling to get “out of their head” with repetitive thought processes. It’s also a wise idea to write down lists of things to do the following day, to prevent stewing over it. 

 USEFUL APPS 

  • INSIGHT TIMER: A database of hundreds of meditations all categorised into what you need (free) 
  • SMILING MIND: a not-for-profit meditation app with daily check-ins (free and paid options)  
  • HEADSPACE – a popular mindfulness app for all ages, includes daily activities and hundreds of meditations (paid). 

But, if you’re still struggling to nod-off, or waking up feeling exhausted, then it’s time you booked in to see us to uncover some more deep-rooted problems leading to your insomnia.

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