You might think that clean eating is the best way to get your health back on track, but how’s your sleep?
Backed by Gwyneth Paltrow in her new book, Goop Clean Beauty (Goop.com), she swears that her youthful glow and slim physique are down to a good night’s sleep. She says: “Sleep plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority — even before you think about your diet.”
“The lifestyle I lead is based not just on clean eating, but also on clean sleeping: at least seven or eight hours of good, quality sleep – and ideally even 10.”
Gwyneth explains that particularly as she approaches middle age, sleep is becoming a more important part in her healthy lifestyle: “That’s because the body repairs itself and detoxifies overnight, and it’s this process — happening efficiently — that allows you to look your best the next day. But as menopause approaches, changes in hormones can lead to troubled sleep. It might be night sweats, or thoughts rushing through your mind, but the undulating hormonal cocktail of midlife commonly leaves women sleep-deprived and stumbling through the day like a zombie.”
In a recent study it was found that in the UK, we are some of the worst sleepers in the world, with 37% saying that they weren’t getting enough sleep.
With some hints from Gwyneth, and some of our expert’s advice, we’ve put together the ultimate clean sleeping guide:
Say No to Midnight Munchies
If you’re really looking forward to a proper nights sleep, make sure you stay out of the kitchen and away from temptations after dinner!
Gwyneth says to ban bedtime snacks and explains that you should have a 12 hour fasting window, which means finishing dinner by 8pm and having breakfast at 8am.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ explains: “Ensure you are eating little and often during the day to keep your blood sugar steady. This will ensure that the hormone cortisol will start to wind down when you go to bed, as it is supposed to do.”
“Try and avoid large meals and too much hard-to-digest food for three to four hours before going to bed”
Gwyneth Says Relax
One of the simplest ways to have a good clean sleep is to make sure you’re completely relaxed when you go to bed. Gwyneth recommends a head or foot massage but you can also distress after a long day with a bath with essential oils. Marilyn says: “Try using aromatherapy oils such as bergamot, lavender, roman chamomile and marjoram in a warm bath, just before bed. A few drops of lavender oil on your pillow at bedtime can also help.”
Change Your Pillows
Gwyneth swears by copper infused pillows as part of her clean sleeping lifestyle. The copper can help boost the skin’s collagen and elastin levels and has been proven to have antibacterial qualities.
If you’re not quite on the same budget as Gwynnie you can always boost your collagen levels through your diet. Collagen is found in dark green vegetables, citrus fruits and peppers. Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, adds: “You may have read that collagen is necessary for good skin health. But did you know that Vitamin C contributes to the collagen formation? Vitamin C is necessary to help rebuild the collagen and is often found in face creams. So don’t forget to get your Vitamin C for healthy looking skin.”
Keep Your Toes Toasty
Although it might not be for everyone, the clean sleeping guide includes wearing some form of heated socks to regulate the temperature of your feet while you sleep. If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, Carnation’s Silver Socks (£12, firstaidfast.co.uk) are an ideal option as the silver keeps your feet at a constantly comfortable temperature as well as destroying any foot odour.
Meditate with a “Psychic Sleep”
Gwyneth recommends using “Physic Sleep”, a form of meditation that allows your body to get all the benefits of sleep while you’re actually still awake! There are many meditation apps on the market and you can find playlists on YouTube.
Not only is meditation beneficial for your sleep it also great for reducing stress and easing anxiety. Shona explains: “Meditation is now gaining mainstream recognition through scientific research for its ability to reduce stress. Those in stressful jobs or situations can benefit enormously from meditative practice. It can be done anywhere, such as on the bus or train into work and even 5 minutes can be helpful to clear your mind and feel refreshed.”
Tech Free Bedroom
You’ve heard it once and now you’re hearing it from Gwyneth, make you’re bedroom is a technology free zone. That’s phones, TV, computers, everything. Shona says: “Establish the mood of the room that you sleep in, making it a calm and relaxing environment. This includes the colour of the walls, bed linen and décor and avoiding very bright, stimulating colours. Make sure you keep work out of the bedroom, as well as distractions like mobile phones, computers and TVs.”
Supplement Your Sleep
If you’re looking for a little natural help Gwyneth’s health guru, Dr Frank Lipman has got you covered. For those who have trouble sleeping, one of the supplements he suggests is magnesium. Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and helps relax our muscles; it is also needed for conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and melatonin, which helps you sleep.
Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns says: “Many of us live hectic, stressful lives, and are more exposed to environmental and food toxins, which can make us more prone to a magnesium deficiency. Try to include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, whole grains and bananas in your diet, which are all rich in magnesium. Alternatively, to make sure you’re getting your daily dose I would recommend taking Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Powder (£24.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk), which are very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues. You will see the difference after 3 months”