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Vitamin Zzzz

I've written about sleep before but it's so important it bears repeating.

Sleep is the most undervalued pillar of health. Better sleep means stronger immunity, more energy, improved mood, increased focus and reduced risk of getting sick.

I have prioritised my sleep for a long time. It is rare to find me out of bed after 10pm at night. There have been moments in my life when I have suffered from insomnia – times when I was feeling very anxious or depressed. But for the most part these days I sleep well.

The only time I don’t is when I’ve had too much booze to drink the night before, or if my seven year old comes in for a snuggle which he still does once or twice a week (though I secretly love it).

We all know about having a relaxing bath, avoiding screens, using lavender on our pillows and sipping chamomile tea, but are there any other hacks to ensure we get a good night’s kip?

- Eat foods high in tryptophan – turkey, chicken, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds and milk. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is converted by the body into serotonin. Serotonin then gets converted into melatonin, our natural sleep hormone.

- Drink turmeric milk – turmeric helps regulate inflammation, lowers your blood sugar levels and helps the liver to detoxify while you sleep.

- Try taping your mouth at night. I’ve been trying to convince my husband to do this for ages! Nasal breathing increases nitric oxide production in the sinuses, which has been linked to reduced inflammation, improved sleep, improved memory and an overall increase in immune system function. Use micropore surgical tape. They say you get used to it very quickly and you’ll wake up feeling way more energised without a dry mouth.

- Invest in the right pillow for the way you sleep. Chiropractors recommend that side sleepers should choose a thick, firm pillow; stomach sleepers need a soft, thinner one; and back sleepers need something in between. The goal is to have your head and neck aligned so that when you’re lying down, your neck isn’t tilting in any direction.

- Finally, do a simple mobility practice before bed – this promotes relaxation of your musculoskeletal system, means you’ll sleep really well and wake up full of beans. Just a few twists while you brush your teeth, some side stretches, a simple back bend and a pigeon is all you need.

Night night xx

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