Sometimes getting eight hours sleep each night can feel like an elusive goal.
But food author and nutritionist, Jessica Sepel, says that a good night’s shut-eye is as simple as embracing a five-step routine.
Writing on her blog, Jessica explained the five things she does when she’s feeling overwrought, stressed and low on sleep.
‘What we do in the lead up to bedtime has a direct impact on the quality of our sleep,’ Jessica wrote.
Food author and nutritionist Jessica Sepel (pictured) recently shared that a good night’s sleep is as simple as embracing a five-step routine
First and foremost, Jessica (pictured) said you need to sign off at work and truly leave all stresses relating to the office at the office – set boundaries for yourself
1. Sign off for the day at work
No matter what time you finish, Jessica said the first and most important thing you can do is stop work and ‘truly sign off’.
‘Carrying the stress of work with you during the evening only heightens cortisol and adrenaline, which are taxing to your overall health,’ she said.
Instead, you should start promoting rest and relaxation hours before bed – whether that’s through an Epsom salts bath or lighting some candles in your living room and sprinkling lavender oil on your pillow.
‘I recommend setting some boundaries for yourself,’ Jessica added. For instance, turn off your phone an hour or two before bed and read a book.
You can also help to promote sleep by drinking peppermint or chamomile tea.
Next, the nutritionist (right) also said it’s important to have a protein-rich meal (left), which can help to put you in the sleepy state – avoid alcohol and cacao before bed
2. Make a wholesome meal
Once you’ve ‘signed off’ for the day, Jessica said it’s a good idea to make a nutritious dinner.
‘The connection between food and sleep is real,’ she wrote in her book – Living The Healthy Life.
‘Eat protein at night because this can really help with sleep and blood-sugar regulation,’ Jessica said.
‘Healthy fats are also a huge help.
‘Remember when you’re eating dinner, do so slowly and mindfully.’
Limit or avoid alcohol before bed, as well as cacao and refined sugar – even fruit.
Try a technology fast after dinner, and really switch off your phones, tablets and computers – Jessica (pictured) is never on her phone after 8pm
3. Limit screen time
Try a technology fast after dinner, and really switch off your phones, tablets and computers.
‘As a rule, you’ll never find me on my phone after 8pm,’ Jessica said.
If you find this difficult, then simply switch your devices to airplane mode half an hour before bed.
‘When your face is glued to screens right up until the time you go to bed, you’re not optimising your sleep,’ she said.
4. Create space for relaxation
Making your home cosy and ready for sleep is key to a good night’s slumber.
‘Maybe it’s lighting a few candles and drinking a cup of herbal tea, or finding some time to read a few pages of your book,’ Jessica said.
‘I love having a bath with a few drops of essential oil and Epsom salts, which really helps to rest and rest the body, signalling it’s time for bed.’
Jessica also recommends you warm up some almond or coconut milk and sip it slowly with ground cinnamon.
‘I love putting my legs up against the wall for ten minutes before bed. This improves circulation and puts the parasympathetic nervous system into the rest and digest state,’ Jessica said
5. Prepare the body for sleep
Last but not least, Jessica has one tried-and-tested technique for getting her to sleep faster.
‘I love putting my legs up against the wall for 10 minutes before bed. This yogic posture – also known as viparati karani – improves circulation and puts the parasympathetic nervous system into the rest and digest state.’
Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool, lie there and breathe slowly for ten minutes.
‘If you’re still struggling to sleep after all of this, adrenal tonics with calming herbs – like passionflower, magnolia and withania – can be beneficial. Melatonin may also be an option.’
To read more from Jessica Sepel, please visit her website here.