Sleep Better

The goal of my work with individuals and groups is helping you discover your ‘optimum-you’ – whatever that means for YOU. Part of our work together is focused on movement and nutrition – but it does not stop there. Stress and too little time in our days often leaves my clients with not enough or not the right quality sleep and rest. Not being able to fall asleep or waking up around 2am and not being able to go back to sleep are common problems clients deal with. Sleep issues directly impact health, weight, mood and well-being. Growth, recovery and rejuvenation happen when we rest.

For better sleep, we work on a number of different individual issues. It is tough to generalize – but here are a few general tips to improve your sleep (if your issues persist, make sure to work with an expert and tackle them head on – sleep is soooo important!):

  1. Bed-Time. Unless you have an important outside reason to not go to bed at a regular time – like a small child, your job or anything along those lines – please try to stick to a regular bed time. Ideally, this regular time is well before midnight. (yes, I know!)
  2. Bedtime Routine. I know it sounds a bit childish – but it has been proven over and over. Routines work well for us humans. We are creatures of habit. Establish a regular way to unwind and prepare for bed. Have a warming cup of tea, read a nice book, journal and write down what makes you happy…
  3. Stress. This is a big problem for good sleep (cortisol!). If you deal with negative stress, actively look for ways to manage it. Breathing, journaling, yoga, meditation, exercise, a walk…there are many options to explore.
  4. Electronics. This bedtime routine should not include electronics. The ‘glow’ messes with your melatonin production (sleep inducing hormone), messed up melatonin messes with your sleep.
  5. Bedroom. Make your bedroom comfortably cool (what exactly that means varies from person to person), as dark as possible and make it an electronic free room! (Try a ‘no cellphone in the bedroom’ commitment for a few weeks – it works wonders!)
  6. Caffeine consumption. Sounds obvious, but some people (including myself) are sensitive to caffeine and need to stop consuming it earlier than seems reasonable. I can’t have coffee after 2pm or I won’t fall asleep forever – and many of my clients found out similar early cut offs. Try it.
  7. ‘The protein pill’. Blood sugar regulation issues can lead to messy cortisol which leads to sleep interruption! Cut out the simple sugars close to bed time. Instead, have a snack rich in protein right before bed. Try a slice of tuna, a handful of pumpkin seeds, or nuts.
  8. Magnesium. Many of us are Magnesium deficient anyway and it is key for many processes in our body. Magnesium also helps you relax – so if you chose to supplement – do so right before bed.
  9. Cut off sugar, rich foods and alcohol 2-3 hours before bed. I know this is a tough one – but try to play with this – you will definitely sleep better! Ideally, stop eating and drinking alcohol 2-3 hours before bed. You can still have the ‘protein pill’ and some herbal tea and water (not too much) before bed.

Awareness is key to find out what exactly works for YOU. Give these steps a try and watch closely watch what happens. Write it down, watch, adjust.

Zzzzzz and be well,
Barbara

Barbara Birke

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My key passion in life is this: ‘I want to support people in reaching their individual optimum through targeted nutrition strategies and simple and sustainable healthy habits’.

I am a nutritionist with a broader perspective. My knowledge and education base, which ranges from Sports Science (D) to Nutrition(board certified by the NANP, USA) and further education in Holistic Health, allows me to take a truly holistic approach. Many of my clients have improved fundamentally as we fixed sleep issues, stress response, imbalances, gut issues and – obviously working with nutrition and hydration.
I have worked with athletes, I have helped people regain their health, I have worked in a global corporation, I have supported busy people to make it work.

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