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Sleep disorders – tips for a healthy sleep pattern

Are you someone who sleeps poorly at night? If your sleep problems persist over a long period of time you should do something about it. Important for restful sleep is a healthy lifestyle and a varied and balanced diet. A few simple rules will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

man squeezes a pillow around his ears

Sleep disorders and what causes them

Sleep disorders are often only temporary. However, if you have been sleeping badly for weeks or months on end, please contact a doctor you trust. He or she will try to find the cause and, if appropriate, will refer you to a sleep disturbance specialist. The following issues can lead to sleep problems:

  • noise, bright light
  • irregular daily routine, e.g. due to shift work
  • anxiety, stress, worry
  • excessive caffeine or alcohol intake, certain medications
  • pain, heart conditions, tingling and twitchy legs (restless leg syndrome), sleep apnoea syndrome (temporary interruption in breathing)
  • late, heavy evening meals
  • too much excitement or strenuous physical exercise in the evening woman sleeping on a red pillow

Eat and drink the right things

If your stomach and intestines have to work too hard in the evening, this may prevent you from resting. It is therefore advisable to avoid excessively large evening meals. If you still feel hungry, stick to food which is easily digested, e.g. a milky drink or a banana, for two to three hours before you go to bed. In general, the higher the fat content, the longer the food will remain in your stomach.

Caffeine has a stimulating effect and can therefore cause sleep problems. If this affects you, you should avoid drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, black tea and cola, after lunch. Have you considered a caffeine-free alternative? Decaffeinated coffee, e.g. decaffeinated or NESCAFÉ Gold is easily digestible.

Businessman sleeping on a laptop

Tryptophan encourages sleep

The amino acid tryptophan is a key component of the “good mood substance??? serotonin, which plays an important role in helping us to fall asleep and stay asleep. Foods containing tryptophan, such as nuts, meat and fish, and milk-based products like quark and cheese can support healthy sleep. Food with a high carbohydrate content, such as cereals, sugar, potatoes and rice, can also boost the production of serotonin in the body.

Tip: before going to bed, have a cup of hot chocolate or cocoa made with milk and, for example, NESQUIK or NESTLÉ Finest Hot Chocolate. Cocoa contains tryptophan. The sugar in the chocolate or cocoa powder also ensures that the tryptophan reaches the brain and is then available for the production of serotonin.

More tips for a healthy sleep pattern

Sometimes, it does not take much to get back into a healthy sleep routine. Create the right conditions by following these tips:

  • Get up at the same time each day whenever possible, even at the weekends and on holiday.
  • Do not eat or work on business documents while you are in bed. Otherwise, your digestive organs or brain will be unable to relax. This prevents you from falling asleep.
  • Avoid taking afternoon naps if you have trouble sleeping at night, unless absolutely necessary.
  • A warm bath or relaxation exercises before bed can work wonders.
  • Sleep in a quiet, dark room. The temperature in your bedroom should be lower than 18 °C.
  • If you have problems sleeping, it is best to go to bed only when you actually feel tired – not when you think you ought to go to bed.
  • If you are unable to sleep, get up again. Do not go back to bed until you genuinely feel tired. Otherwise you will only become restless trying to sleep and this will make you subconsciously see your bed in a negative light.