Our guide to sleep
Supporting a healthy sleep cycle
Sleep is a time of cellular repair: these precious hours enable the body to undo damage done during the day, and restore equilibrium. Optimal sleep is also needed for a strong immune system, to protect against inflammation and balance your hormones - so it’s vital in life stages such as teenage growth, pregnancy and menopause. Anxiety and emotional concerns can also interfere with a sound night’s sleep, and this can make it difficult for us to cope with stress, whether lifestyle-related or environmental. However, nurturing the body with the right foods, alongside exceptional quality nutrients known for their relaxing qualities, can encourage a restful night’s sleep - while giving us the very best support for the day ahead.
Our supplement recommendations
Your sleep essentials
"For five years I didn’t sleep more than three or four hours per night, and as a single parent running a business I felt wretched most of the time. But then I discovered the incredible individual care given by the amazing Wild Nutrition team - and I’ve never felt better. The consultation is invaluable, and their therapists genuinely care about doing all they can to improve your life: from how to eat and which nutrients to take, to how to deal with stress and broken sleep patterns. Thanks to their expert advice, in combination with their Food-Grown Magnesium and Food-Grown Vitamin B12 Plus, I now sleep for seven hours, unbroken, most nights. Wild Nutrition has literally given me my life back."
Our team of expert nutritionists host consultations with women all over the world. We sat down with our Head of Nutrition, Lorna Driver-Davies, to discuss how to get a good night’s sleep...
The hormone Melatonin plays a major role in our sleeping and waking cycles - and difficulty falling asleep, or feeling exhausted in the morning, can point to a deficiency. Melatonin production is controlled by exposure to light: as it starts to get dark in the evening, or we are exposed to less light, Melatonin secretion rises to assist us in feeling tired - eventually helping us to fall asleep. Conversely, in the morning when we wake up, exposure to light shuts Melatonin production down so that we feel energised enough to get out of bed. Melatonin is derived from Serotonin (known as the ‘happy hormone’), which requires optimal levels of Magnesium to be produced: which explains why Magnesium is crucial in sleep (and is therefore referred to as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’). We recommend taking our Food-Grown Magnesium in the evening, which helps you to wind down before falling asleep, in addition to our Food-Grown B Complex Plus in the morning, to balance energy and sleep-waking cycles during the day. ‘Blue light’ (emitted from the screens of devices such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and television) is also shown to affect the rise of Melatonin - so try to avoid digital devices in the hour leading up to bed. If you do need to use a screen in the evenings, you could consider investing in a pair of protective, blue light-blocking glasses.
Q: I’m often alert before bed and have trouble falling asleep - then wake up incredibly tired. What’s going on?
Restless, achy or cramping legs at night can be a sign of Magnesium deficiency. Famous for its tranquilising powers, Magnesium works by helping to regulate the flow of Calcium into our muscles, enabling the muscle fibres to contact and relax, and our Food-Grown Magnesium is great for those who experience stiffness, muscle cramps and ‘twitchy’ legs. Magnesium also contributes to the balance of electrolytes in the body (which can be lost through exercise and sweating) - and is important for supporting recovery in those who exercise regularly or play a lot of sports. If Magnesium does not solve the issue, it may be that your Iron or Vitamin B12 levels are lacking - so try our Food-Grown Iron Plus in addition to our Food-Grown Vitamin B12 Plus, which can soothe frazzled nerves and bring relief from muscle twitching. Our Food-Grown B Complex Plus can be safely used in combination with our Food-Grown B12 Plus.
Q: Twitchy and restless legs prevent me from falling asleep - is there a solution?
In the days leading up to menstruation, your body is preparing to go through a shift - so maintaining hormonal balance is key to ensuring you get the rest that you need. We recommend our Food-Grown Vitamin D or Vegan Vitamin D, which regulates sleeping and waking cycles, while playing an important role in hormone balance. Our Food-Grown Premenstrual Complex can also be helpful at this time (taken each day of your cycle and during your period) and contains nutrients and therapeutic herbs to support your natural cycle including Dong Quai, a traditional remedy known to promote healthy menstrual flow and ease period pain, and Magnesium to lessen cramps and promote relaxation. If you have a gynecological condition, take a look at our Hormone-balancing products or book a call with our Nutrition team, who will be able to recommend further support.
Q: My sleep is really poor just before my period starts - what can I do to fix it?
Consistent stress - whether physical or emotional - can lead to an increase in Cortisol and Adrenaline, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and energy: so you need to focus on nutrients that will calm by day and soothe by night. Ashwagandha is clinically proven to support resilience to physiological and psychological stress, while relaxing the mind and body, and taking our KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus in the morning can help to regulate heart rate and breathing, while encouraging your nervous system to switch into a “Parasympathetic” state (allowing you to cope better during the day, while promoting focus and calm). Before going to bed, take our Food-Grown Magnesium, which is known to ease tension and help to maintain a sound and restful sleep - and try to avoid digital devices one hour before bedtime if you can, as these emit a ‘blue light’ which interferes with the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, Melatonin. If you suffer from increasing anxiety before bedtime, or still feel very stressed in the evening, taking our KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus after dinner can help.
Q: Stress is really affecting my sleep - what can I do?
Difficulties remaining asleep at night often point to an underlying imbalance with the nervous system, which means that your body can never quite get into a deep sleep cycle - so supplementing with our Food-Grown B Complex Plus in addition to our Food-Grown B12 Plus can help to relax nerves. Broken sleep patterns may also indicate that you are deficient in Melatonin and Serotonin, the necessary brain chemicals that keep us asleep, and our Food-Grown Magnesium and Food-Grown Vitamin B6 support the production of these important sleep chemicals, while also reducing physical and emotional tension. Do also be mindful of what you’re putting into your body in the hours leading up to bed: after all, sweet foods or alcohol can lead to blood sugar imbalance, which can raise the level of stress hormones and put the body’s detoxification systems to work, therefore waking you up in the middle of the night. If possible, try to avoid eating large meals right before you go to bed, as digestion can also exacerbate sleep issues. If you are experiencing blood sugar imbalances that are waking you up, consider our multi vitamins and minerals, which contain blood sugar balancing nutrients including Magnesium, Zinc and Chromium. Otherwise, our Nutrition team will be happy to help.
Q: I always fall asleep easily, but often wake up in the night. How can I achieve an unbroken night’s rest?
Q: I am moving into menopause and my sleep is really erratic - what can I do?
Sleep is a huge issue for many perimenopausal women, ranging from difficulty falling asleep, to broken sleep cycles and in more serious cases, insomnia - so balancing your hormones is key. This will help further when you are entering full menopause as a decline in oestrogen makes it difficult to relax: for example, by affecting the nerves, heart and muscles (therefore hindering the body’s ability to fall asleep) - but also contributing to a restless emotional state (leading to a whirring mind that prevents you being able to drift off). Our Botanical Menopause Complex is wonderful at managing classic symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and sleeplessness, and can help to settle the body when things aren’t functioning as they should be. We also recommend investing in cooling bedding made from 100 per cent natural fibres, and swapping feather or synthetic duvets to a wool variety: this may sound counter-intuitive; however, wool is a natural temperature regulator, and therefore helps to cool your body when you are too warm. For further advice, you can speak to someone in our Nutrition team, who can advise on additional supplements to support at this stage.