Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist and sleep therapist, knows how to cure 21st century insomnia.
With one in the three of us struggling to slip off to the land of nod each night – whether it’s due to stress, anxiety or from not getting enough relaxation after work – a good night’s kip for most of us is never taken for granted.
Which is why at this year’s Stylist Live, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan took to the stage to share her expertise, so we can all hopefully get a better night’s sleep.
As it turns out, there are four reasons why we’re struggling to sleep: noise, the speed of today’s world, daily demands and our constant use of technology. All make perfect sense, don’t they?
So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, then took a look below at Dr Ramlakhan’s tried-and-tested tips.
1) Breakfast within 30 minutes of rising – 21 days
“Start eating within half of an hour of getting up in the morning,” says Dr Ramlakhan. “If you start doing this, within 7-10 days it’s going to start to change your relationship with sleep because you will start to produce more melatonin.
“Have something as small as eight almonds, or half glass of smoothie or half a piece of toast. Stabilize your blood sugar levels.”
2) Stop checking the clock
According to Dr Ramlakhan, the average person wakes up around 10-15 times every night.
“We wake up, check the time and then do a risk assessment. And then check Instagram,” says Dr Ramlakhan. “Remover your phone from your bedroom.”
3) Electronic sundown / tech-free bedrooms
“Falling in front of the TV is the worst thing you can do for your body,” says Dr Ramlakhan.
“It’s so important to try to create tech-free rooms in your house if you want a better chance at getting a good night’s sleep.”
4) Sleep before midnight
“Our bodies have all the medicine they need. We just need to know how to trigger it,” says Dr Ramlakhan.
“What I’ve learnt from studying some of the Eastern sciences is that every 90-minute cycle of sleep does something different to the body. It repairs the body in a different way. Every energy system in the body is healed if you go to bed early – physically, mentally and spiritually so you wake up with energy.
“There’s recent research that has shown that the 90-minute sleep cycle before midnight can help to stop the development of dementia and alzheimer’s.”
5) White noise
“You have ‘martini sleepers’ – who can sleep any time, any place, anywhere. And then you have a ‘sensitive sleeper’ – who needs to be just right before they can sleep,” says Dr Ramlakhan.
“No matter which one you are white noise can be helpful. A fan for example, can help to block external noise coming into the room.”
6) Caffeine (no more tea or coffee after 3pm)
“Do not substitute caffeine for food. Ideally, eat something before you drink a cup of tea or coffee. And no caffeine after 3pm in the afternoon,” advices Dr Ramlakhan.
7) Hydration (around four bottles per day)
“Drink three or four bottles of water per day,” advises Dr Ramlakhan. “The body is made up of 70 trillion cells and 75% water. Most of us are dehydrated which means we can’t sleep well.”
8) Love your feet
As you’re trying to nod off to sleep, Dr Ramlakhan suggests “boring yourself to sleep” by reciting the below (in your mind, not out loud):
‘I love my right foot
‘I love my right big toe
‘I love all of my toes on my right foot
‘I love the top of my right foot
‘I love the bones of my right foot
‘I love my right ankle.’
‘And continue to say it to yourself until you drift off.
Lastly, make sure you’re “hugging a tree” because being surrounded by nature truly does help our mental health and allow us to sleep better.
You can read more in Dr Ramlakhan’s book, The Little Book of Sleep.
Images: Unsplash / Courtesy of Dr Ramlakhan