For some people sleep comes easily and they constantly get a good night’s sleep. For others they find it hard to fall asleep, or stay asleep with a disturbed night’s sleep being a common occurrence. Over 50% of adults have insomnia a few nights a week, which is a worrying statistic.
Sleep is essential to main good mental and physical health. It is nature’s healer and the opportunity for your brain and body to repair themselves from the stressors of the day, and build and develop for the future. If we improve our sleep we will also improve our health and wellbeing as you will be ill less frequently, you will be less stressed, you will regulate your weight and you will improve your memory.
If you are struggling to improve your quantity or quality of sleep by the methods listed in our sleep blog (see here) such as by having a digital detox before bed and setting up a night time routine, then vitamins and supplements might be able to help you.
Here are 3 of the best supplements that you can take to help with sleep:
Recent research has indicated that people who are vitamin D deficient had a significant risk of sleep disorders, poor sleep quality, short sleep duration and sleepiness. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin – the body actually produces it’s own vitamin D in response to exposure to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D though foods like fatty fish, fish oils, cheese and egg yolks. It is estimated that over 50% of adults and children are deficient in Vitamin D, which is noteworthy as Vitamin D is important for mainlining healthy sleep. It can influence both sleep quality and quantity.
So what is the best way to increase your Vitamin D? Well getting out more in the sunshine is the best way, but failing that then adding vitamin rich foods to your diet like tuna, salmon, and sardines is a healthy alternative.
Magnesium plays a critical role in the healthy functioning of the body. Healthy magnesium levels protect metabolic health, stabilise mood, keep stress in check, contribute to bone and heart health and also promote better sleep – so it is pretty important!
When we are stressed, magnesium levels can also become depleted so it is crucial to up your levels of magnesium in take at these times. Good natural sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, seeds and nuts like cashews and almonds, and legumes.
Zinc is one of the three minerals that have a sedative effect on the nervous system (the others are calcium and magnesium – see above). Zinc is well-known for its restorative effects and is often used to promote recovery post-exercise. It is also thought to help mental recovery post-stress.
A research study by Rondanelli et al (2011) found that magnesium and zinc that had a beneficial effect on the restorative value of sleep. Having enough zinc in your body can help you get more out of your sleep by helping you have less night wakings and less morning fog.
So what foods are rich in zinc? Great sources are seafood such as oysters and crab, red meat, poultry, nuts and beans.
For more tips on getting a good nights sleep click here.