De­feat anx­i­ety

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Re­duce your stress lev­els with­out get­ting out of bed

Frac­tured sleep is one symp­tom of a suc­cess­ful but hec­tic life­style – and ac­cord­ing to Dr Ne­rina Ram­lakhan of Lon­don’s Nightin­gale Hos­pi­tal, it’s a sign that you could be burn­ing out. We asked the sleep and en­ergy ex­pert to pro­vide her ad­vice for get­ting your phys­i­cal and men­tal health back on track. The an­swer: show bed­time who’s boss.

Pro­tect your 90-minute win­dow

“Burnout-prone in­di­vid­u­als avoid go­ing to bed early be­cause they want to get ev­ery­thing done,” says Ram­lakhan, “but start­ing to rest in the 90-minute phase be­fore mid­night is im­por­tant for nor­mal­is­ing the adrenal re­sponse and heal­ing the adrenals” – the glands re­spon­si­ble for hor­mone pro­duc­tion in the body.

Ditch the cog­ni­tive noise

“If you’re us­ing so­cial me­dia or tex­ting in bed, that cre­ates ‘cog­ni­tive noise’ that pre­vents you from reach­ing the calm state that’s nec­es­sary for sleep.” No prizes for guess­ing the so­lu­tion. “Keep your bed­room mo­bile phone-free – use an alarm clock rather than your phone, so you’re not tempted to pick it up” is Ram­lakhan’s ad­vice.

Drink the white stuff

“A glass of milk be­fore bed can help in­duce sleep due to an in­crease in vi­ta­min B6 and tryp­to­phan, which boost sero­tonin and mela­tonin, the hor­mones that aid rest­ful sleep,” says Ram­lakhan. “They’re also found in tuna, chicken, cheese, eggs, nuts and seeds.” They’re def­i­nitely

not found in coffee, choco­late or beer – all of which can dis­rupt a night’s rest.

Work­out and chill (lit­er­ally)

“Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of re­duc­ing stress hor­mone lev­els (mainly adren­a­line), thus en­abling you to sleep more deeply,” says the au­thor of Tired But Wired: How To Over­come Your Sleep Prob­lems. And when you’ve trained, drunk your milk and locked your phone away, it’s time to chill. “The brain needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of the body for op­ti­mal sleep. Be­ing too hot can stop you get­ting to sleep and stay­ing asleep, so keep your bed­room cool at night to al­le­vi­ate this.”

Wo r k i n g l i ke a d o g ? Get a good night’s kip or risk burn­ing out

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