Do you wake between 2-5am with a zing? You’re wide-awake! It’s not a ‘maybe I need to go to the bathroom’ sleepy voice, no, this is literally eyes wide open, unlikely to go back to sleep anytime soon… Except, as much as you toss and turn, you do eventually go back to sleep but it’s probably half an hour before your alarm goes off and you end up feeling sooo much worse for that extra sleep. This habit can become so ingrained that you almost dread falling asleep at night. Sometimes it quietens down and we forget all about it only to find it rears up again. As a Nutritional Therapist, Eating Psychology Coach and fellow Type 2 insomniac (the technical term for this), I’ve spent years experimenting on myself – what works, what doesn’t and here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Look for correlations with your cycle! Personally, I’m most likely to have these wake ups the week before my period and that’s interesting because it’s when our magnesium, B vit and iron levels are more likely to dip. So, I’ve been experimenting the week before my period by adding extra brown rice (B vits); iron sources like an organic steak or extra apricots, spinach; and almonds and masses of green veg for magnesium. It’s this week that I’ll indulge in a couple of magnesium baths to top up my levels. Magnesium helps us combat the effects of stress and aids muscular relaxation.
2. Be careful about setting a pattern! When my kids were babies I found that 3 consecutive bad nights set a pattern. I think it applies to us too! So, if I have one 4am wake up, I bring out the big guns to try avert it happening the next night. Here’s my ‘big gun’ strategy: Have ½ a mug of turmeric milk (see recipe below), take a liquid magnesium supplement – not a capsule, it has to be liquid so it’s more quickly assimilated into the body and…on to point 3:
3. Make sure you’re totally relaxed when you fall asleep to increase your chances of falling into a really deep sleep! I’m a fan of the Audible app and have various ‘fall into deep sleep with hypnosis/ the angels/ meditation…’ – I love them all!
Wishing you deep and restful sleep!
Turmeric milk: Warm up ½ cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk, add a pinch of turmeric, ground ginger, and cinnamon. Sweeten with ½ teaspoon of honey.