How to get a good night’s sleep

Insomnia affects about a third of the UK population and, for a male client of mine in his late 40s, it was leaving him drained and unable to manage his business, adding to his already high stress levels.

After having a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast, my client drank coffee throughout the day, had a sandwich for lunch and ate his main meal in the evening. He often caught up with paperwork or emails before going to bed.

My advice to this client was…

Zingy chicken stir-fry Swap sugary cereal for a wholegrain alternative topped with milk and a sliced banana.
Choose protein foods that are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. This helps boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds are all good choices.
Combine these with rice, pasta or potatoes to help the body get the most benefits from tryptophan. Try a chicken and noodle stir-fry or similar. Drink warm milk with a cracker or oatcake before bed.
Reduce your caffeine intake gradually. Try decaffeinated coffee or caffeine-free drinks like red bush tea.
Build relaxation and exercise into the day to help manage stress.
Avoid using a computer late in the evening as the light from the screen can have a stimulatory effect.

The result?

After a month, my client had made several diet and lifestyle changes, and his sleep quality had improved. However, his stress levels remained high, so I suggested that he visit his GP for this.