13 reasons why you’re not sleeping well

By Jenny Tschiesche BSc(Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT

 13 reasons why you’re not sleeping well

  1. You are deficient in vitamin D. Several studies associate lower levels of vitamin D with a higher risk of sleep disturbances, poorer sleep quality and reduced sleep duration. Supplementing vitamin D can help improve sleep quality and duration.
  2. You are eating too many carbs during the day – a lower carbohydrate, higher protein approach to eating during the day has been shown to increase the production of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.cars
  3. You are not eating carbs at night – conversely, eating more carbohydrates in the evening can have a soporific effect, helping you sleep more soundly. It appears that the best approach to improving sleep in terms of macronutrient balance is lower carb by day and higher carb by night.
  4. The carbs you do eat are too high GI. To get even more specific on the issue of carbohydrates in your evening meal, they need to be lower glycaemic index (GI) to optimise sleep. That means they should be wholegrains or vegetable based and keep the skins on the vegetables you do eat because this adds fibre and fibre lowers GI.
  5. You eat insufficient amounts of citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are known to provide both vitamin C and inositol (also known as Vitamin B8) which both contribute to increased levels of melatonin.citrus fruits
  6. You are low in other B Vitamins. B vitamins regulate the body’s level of tryptophan, an amino acid that is vital for sleep. Tryptophan is what is called a ‘precursor’ to both serotonin and melatonin. You can increase B vitamin levels by increasing the quantity of the following foods in your diet, dark green leafy vegetables, nutritional yeast flakes, seeds and nuts, wholegrains, pulses and fish.
  7. You are not producing enough melatonin. Melatonin (B12) is the hormone at the centre of the sleep cycle. Your body produces and releases more and more as it gets darker, which encourages you to sleep. Without it, you won’t feel naturally tired. Tart cherry juice is a source of melatonin and research has shown definite benefits to drinking this before bedtime.
  8. You are producing insufficient levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Glutamic acid can help to form GABA in your brain. You can adjust your diet to include more foods that are high in glutamic acid. Add these foods to your existing diet nuts, bananas, broccoli, brown rice, lentils, oats, spinach
  9. You are low in Magnesium also known as natures tranquilizer. People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels has been shown to result in deeper, more sound sleep. Add these foods to your diet, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, spinach, peanut butter, oats and brown rice.
  10. You are eating too late at night. Eating too close to sleep can cause problems with acid reflux which is a common cause of sleep disturbance. Allowing a break of 2-3 hours between eating and sleeping is advised.
  11. You are drinking too much alcohol close to bed. Alcohol causes spikes and dips in blood sugar, dehydrates you, and causes impaired brain function—all of which can lead to disturbed sleepred wine
  12. You are not drinking the right drink before bed – whilst water is best for hydration before bed, you may prefer to drink something that can actively help you relax. One of the most recommended teas for improving sleep is valerian. Whilst other sleep-inducing teas include lavender, lemon balm and chamomile.
  13. You are drinking too much caffeine - a stimulant for the nervous system, it increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature which can all disrupt sleep. It also stays in the body for longer than you might think. Remember that not just coffee and tea but also chocolate, energy drinks and green teas as well as some dietary supplements and medication can contain caffeine.