The secret ingredients to a better night’s sleep

Ah, sleep … it’s vital for keeping our bodies and minds healthy. If you aren’t catching enough precious z’s, a few key nutrients may help.

Nothing feels as refreshing as a good night’s sleep.

It’s as important to our bodies as food and water, and without enough, we simply don’t function as well as we should.

Scientists agree sleep helps to restore our bodies each day and organise things in our brains. It helps keep our immune system strong and our organs – and minds – healthy.

In the lead up to World Sleep Day on March 15, we take a look at the ins and outs of sleep, and how to get more of it.

Are you getting enough sleep?

The amount of sleep needed differs from person to person, but generally ranges from up to 17 hours for babies to 7-8 hours for older adults.

Signs you are not getting adequate sleep range from the obvious – constant yawning – to the more subtle, such as reduced attention span, slower-than-normal reaction time, loss of motivation and poor decision making skills.

Sleep deprivation is caused not only by getting too little sleep, but also by poor-quality or restless sleep.

Natural ways to get a better night’s sleep

You’ve probably heard of the sleep-inducing benefits of a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk, or tried winding down with meditation or a warm bath.

But researchers have also discovered a link between magnesium deficiency and lack of sleep.

A 2018 study suggests magnesium may not only help us get more sleep, but also lead to longer and healthier lives.

Magnesium is absorbed in the gut and used in almost all tissues of the body, particularly the nerves.

It works to calm down restless muscles and ease nervous tension, which makes them less disruptive to your sleep – leading to a calmer, more restorative rest.

While magnesium has emerged as an important player in sleep quality, it’s not the only natural aid.

Clinical trials last year showed the value of passionflower as a herbal remedy to improve sleep quality and treat insomnia.

Hops, commonly used in beer, can also have a sedative effect – though experts stress it’s best to stick to the non-alcoholic variety.

All three of these natural remedies not only promote better sleep, but also reduce stress and anxiety that often go hand in hand with insomnia and sleep deprivation.

How to get more magnesium

Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, pulses such as lentils and chickpeas, nuts seeds, whole grains and potatoes.

A high-fat diet can inhibit the absorption of magnesium.

Magnesium can also be taken in supplement form.

This post is brought to you by GO Healthy’s GO Magnesium Sleep. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.