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Sleep improvement tips

To repair the body, effectively produce sex hormones, rejuvenate the liver and strengthen its detoxifying abilities, recharge the brain, and build immunity, good-quality sleep is vital. According to the New York sleep center (NYSC), everybody needs at least eight hours of deep quality sleep a night to function properly. NYSC has done extensive research into sleep, looking at the importance of deep rejuvenating sleep and its effects on the physical body and its ability to aid in mental and emotional repair.


The body rejuvenates itself the most during delta wave sleep; which is the slowest brain wave frequency. Research shows that the brain can move into this frequency between 9 pm and 2 am. This means that if you regularly go to bed at 11 pm or 12 am then you have limited time in restorative sleep.


The biggest challenge with insomnia or poor sleep patterns sometimes is not just the tiredness but the worry that comes up just before bedtime about whether you will get to sleep easily or not. This creates extra pressure on you to fall asleep, perpetuating insomnia. Instead of perpetuating more anxiety around sleep, and if you are lying awake in bed for more than 30 minutes, then listen to a fictional eBook, a light-hearted podcast or some relaxing music. Do not watch television or sit in front of your laptop or mobile phone if you cannot sleep, avoid turning on bright lights or walking bare foot on cold floors as this will wake you up.


Tips for better sleep:


  • Establish and maintain a regular time for going to bed and rising.
  • Try taking phosphatidylserine (precursor to melatonin) or melatonin for a period of time to aid in resetting sleeping patterns.
  • If waking at night due to stress try a handful of nuts and seeds an hour before bed to reduce nocturnal hypoglycemia.
  • Take a nerve and adrenal tonic to help reset and balance your nervous system and the hypothalamic / pituitary / axis – discuss this with your therapist.
  • Expose yourself to bright light/sunlight in the morning upon waking.
  • Get up when you wake up – don’t linger in bed.
  • Avoid especially after lunch or even better, all together.
  • Avoid soft drinks and refined sugar.
  • Have a good pillow that supports your neck, and a supportive bed. Some studies show that spring beds are not advisable as the metal in the springs picks up electromagnetic output, subtly igniting a cortisol response.
  • Address neck issues with an osteopath / Pilates instructor.
  • Eat a light meal at night rather than making it the largest meal of the day. Your body needs energy to rejuvenate itself rather than energy to digest your meals as you sleep.
  • At night around 8 pm, dim your lights, use lamps, do not expose yourself to any bright lights, even checking your mobile phone when it is dark can send a signal to the brain to wake up.
  • If you use a laptop then consider downloading Flux from the internet (it’s free). This software once installed dims your computer’s back light at sunset.



  • Avoid tyramine foods after 5 pm. Tyramine is found naturally in aged and fermented foods, such as:
  • Aged cheeses
  • Smoked fish
  • Cured meats
  • Some types of beer

  • Avoid eating starches after 5 pm.
  • Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. Consider block-out curtains, eye masks, and earplugs.
  • Remove radio alarm clocks or any electronic device that picks up a radio or Wi-Fi signal from your bedroom. If you use a smart phone as an alarm clock, then set it to flight mode at night and place it at least one meter from your bedside.
  • Those who are sensitive to electronic devises can turn off the power to all electrical devices in their bedroom at the wall before going to sleep.
  • Turn your modem off at night. Wi-Fi affects melatonin production. Keep in mind modems are not made to run 24 hours a day.
  • Some claim that using a Nikken mattress, pillow and quilts (bed system) helps their sleep patterns dramatically –
  • Create a sleep environment that is cool, quiet and dark.
  • Avoid using an electric blanket whilst sleeping. You can warm your bed up before you hop in, however, and then turn it off at the wall socket before getting into bed.
  • Avoid watching TV or reading in bed, your brain will associate activity to bed rather than sleep.
  • If you smoke then avoid cigarettes two hours before bed.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise after 8 pm.
  • Avoid naps after 3 pm, and do not nap for more than 25 minutes at a time (unless ill) as this can reset your sleep patterns.
  • If you have sinus issues aim to address this. Breathing through your nose is important. You can try breathing nasal strips from the chemist to help open the nasal passages. If you habitually breathe through your mouth you can try taping your mouth with mouth tape (browse internet for more on this).
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine/ritual so that you start to connect these pre-bed activities with winding down such as have a bath, listen to music, gentle stretching, meditate, play Sudoku, etc. Do not watch TV or use a computer.
  • Learn ways to manage your stress. Commit to a routine where you can take time out or do group classes that revolve around balancing your nervous system, like gentle yoga or meditation. Look at your perspectives on life, what drives you to continue to push yourself into stressful situations. Consider seeing a counselor or other therapist.
  • Try hypnosis.
  • Try listening to music that aids in delta waves sleep:

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