July 2022
Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

Importance of a Good Night's Sleep

A sleeping woman

Do you struggle to get enough shut-eye? You're not alone.
According to the CDC, 35% of Americans sleep less than seven hours per night.
The importance of good sleep is not something to put at the bottom of your priority list, especially as a Bariatric patient.

Poor sleep habits and low-quality sleep are known contributors to weight gain. It also causes a lack of energy,
making you less likely to exercise. Triple whammy! If you have poor sleep hygiene,
we've outlined a Do's and Don'ts list you can implement into your daily routine.

Things you can implement into your daily routine:

1. Have a quiet environment: Noise such as the tv staying on in the background interferes with your body's ability to fall asleep.

2. Use technology- just this one time: There is an app for everything, including sleep aids. Apps such as 'Calm' have free and premium plans where you can do guided meditation, relaxation exercises, or listen to soundscapes. Spotify also has several relaxations and sleep playlists.

3. Go to bed when you're tired: Your body will tell you when it needs rest and restoration.

4. Keep the bedroom for bedroom purposes: The bedroom is for sleep, intimacy, and reading. This means not taking your laptop to bed to work.

5. Start early: By forcing yourself to get up earlier each day, you will get tired earlier. You can get your daily vitamin D with morning sunshine!

6. Keep it cool - cool down your bedroom: A cooler environment is easier to sleep in than warmer temperatures. 65 Fahrenheit is the ideal sleep temperature.

7. Appeal to the senses: Natural calming remedies - such as a lavender bath or a cup of chamomile tea, can help your body relax before you turn off the lights.

Things that may hinder you getting a good sleep:

1. Skimp on the mattress: Invest in your sleep by investing in a high-quality mattress.

2. Avoid eating heavy meals just before bed: This removes the main job of restoration during sleep and can cause reflux.

3. Caffeine, alcohol or smoking: Your last cup of coffee should be no later than early afternoon, an alcoholic beverage three hours before bed, and you shouldn't smoke cigarettes anyway.

4. Afternoon naps: Get through the 3pm slump with a light snack such as veggies and hummus or a quick walk to prevent laying awake late at night.

5. Go to bed angry: If you're revved up because your spouse got into a fender bender with your new car, do the relaxation techniques above. Only go to bed when your body feels tired.

6. Use your phone, tablet, or TV: Turn off devices at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light emitted from the screes affects your sleep quality.

7. Toss and Turn: Don't lie in bed if you can't fall asleep; get up, have a cup of camomile tea, or read a book.8. Watch the clock - time ticking will increase anxiety.

8. Watch the clock: Time ticking will just increase anxiety.

Which vitamin helps to improve sleep quality?

If you struggle with getting to sleep at night or staying asleep, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Iron deficiency sleep problems can arise as well, leaving you restless.

Magnesium for good sleep is essential because it impacts:

  • Your circadian rhythm: Keeping you on schedule and releasing the right hormones at the right time of day to sleep throughout the night.
  • Hormone balance: Magnesium balances hormones associated with sleep, such as melatonin and GABA. A magnesium deficiency will cause restlessness.  
  • Mental health: A magnesium deficiency is known to cause anxiety, which certainly prevents sleep.

The importance of good sleep is often overlooked when making a weight loss and maintenance plan. With a few simple routine changes and remembering to eat enough leafy greens and legumes, you won’t be stuck counting sheep… or bottles of beer on the wall.

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