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sleep

7 Simple Steps to a Better Night's Sleep 

Sleep is so important for us and impacts our health dramatically! In our fast-paced modern lives many people have trouble either falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Here are 7 simple steps to a better nights sleep, all tried and tested by Dr Kate.

 

1. Avoid caffeine
2. Create a routine
3. Don’t shower straight before bed
4. Avoid bright screens & lights when it’s dark
5. Bed is for sleep (and cuddles) only!
6. Use a good pillow
7. Practice Guided Meditation

 

1. Avoid caffeine : It may be tempting when you're tired from a bad night’s sleep to grab a coffee but you should try to cut out or at least decreases your caffeine intake, particularly after lunch. Caffeine is a stimulant and we definitely don’t want this if we have trouble sleeping. Try drinking herbal teas in the afternoon and evening such as chamomile or a sleep tonic tea which can help to calm and relax you. These are my favourite night time teas, from Pukka and Higher Living

 

2. Create a routine : Just because you’re not a kid doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a routine. Routine can help your body to know when it’s time to wind down and go to sleep based on the activities you do before bed. Remember it takes approximately 28 days to create a new habit so you may need to stick at it for a while to see results. e.g. shower, dinner, get stuff ready for the next day, have a cup of herbal tea, read for 30 minutes, brush your teeth, meditate in bed and then sleep.

 

3. Don’t shower straight before bed : Our body temperature naturally drops as we get closer to sleep time. If we have hot showers before bed, especially in Winter this can stop the natural changes in body temperature to get us relaxed for sleep. Try to shower as soon as you get home from work or earlier in the evening before dinner. 

 

4. Avoid bright screens & Lights after dark : Lights can really disrupt our bodies natural ability to detect day and night. If it's dark outside naturally our body would think its time for bed, however most of us have all the lights on at night time, use TV’s, iPads, phones etc. These all have bright screens that stimulate and wind up our brain instead of calming it. If it’s dark outside try dimming your lights inside, you can now switch your phone to warmer light and get apps for the iPad and computers. You can even buy red lens glasses which help block out the bright blue light that stimulates our brain. This article tells you how to switch your phone to night shift or to use f.lux on your computer. 

 

5. Bed is for sleep (and cuddles) only : Don’t watch TV, use your phone or do any other activities non-sleep-related in bed. If you sit up watching TV in your bed all the time or playing video games in your bed your body doesn’t recognise that bed is for sleep but a place to stimulate your brain and concentrate on things. 

 

6. Use a good pillow : A pillows should support the neck and the spine’s natural curves during sleep and should be comfortable! You don’t want a big pillow as its lifts your head too high and strains your neck muscles and a small pillow won't be very supportive either. I recommend an adjustable contour pillow that is either memory foam or latex-like this one or this one.

 

7. Practice Guided Meditation : Meditation is a fantastic way to clear your mind and relax. I recommend practicing just 10 minutes of guided meditation per day when you go to bed. If you are one of those people that can’t sleep because you have a million things going through your head then this is for you. This is my favourite meditation to do. My advice would be to try this every night for a week because it can take a little time to get used to it. Once you are in a routine then you will find you will be able to calm yourself in a shorter period of time and probably fall asleep before the 10 minutes is up.    

 

I hope that these tips can help you to get a better nights sleep. I know that they work for me.

Dr Kate :)

Sustainability

DID YOU KNOW THE AVERAGE AUSTRALIAN HOUSEHOLD IS THROWING AWAY $1,036 WORTH OF FOOD EACH YEAR!WE WANT TO HELP SAVE THE PLANET AND HELP YOU SAVE MONEY ALL AT THE SAME TIME!


Have you ever looked at how much food you throw away every single week? Think about all the scraps you scrape off your plate, all the vegetables and fruit that go a little bit yucky so you throw them out, all the half-eaten packets of biscuits and crackers that sit there too long and go stale and so on. It doesn’t seem like much when we throw that 1 thing out, but just like everything, it all adds up!


You may not think that this is a problem, but the statistics from the Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study and the national waste report 2010 proves otherwise. 

These studies showed us that: 


- Each year on average Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, that is 1 in 5 shopping bags! 
- The average Australian household is throwing away $1,036 worth of food each year 
- Each Australian household throws away 345KG worth of food 
- As a country we throw out 8 billion dollars’ worth of edible food
Of this 8 billion dollars 
$2.67 billion is fresh food 
$2.18 billion is left overs 
$1.17 billion is packaged and long-life products 
$727 million is drinks 
$727 million is frozen food 
$566 million is take away 


Now not only is that A LOT of food but my goodness that is A LOT of money, and in a world where every dollar counts we sure are wasting a lot of it! If you think about it a bit more deeply you are not only throwing away the food but you are also wasting all the water, time, energy, fuel and other resources it took to get that food to your table.

However, these aren’t the most important issues we face when it comes to food waste. When food waste is thrown into landfill it is thrown into an oxygen starved environment which means it can’t decompose properly and as a result it generates methane gas. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 25% more potent than carbon dioxide. So, all the food we are wasting is now contributing to the ill health of our planet and atmosphere. This doesn’t have to be the case! There are many ways we can get rid of food scraps that are more environmentally sustainable.

“If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd biggest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and china” – FAO, Food wastage footprint report 2013

We are lucky enough that we live in a place where food is abundant and pretty much everywhere. We can walk into our grocery store and see aisles upon aisles of food to fill our bellies and feed our family. What we don’t see is how it is grown or made, how it got to the shop or what environmental impact was created for it to get there. Then hopefully when we get home we eat it. But if it does become something that gets thrown away, we often do that without thinking about the consequences of this simple action. 


Here are our top 5 tips to reduce food waste:

1. Start a compost bin. Have a small compost bin near your sink that you can throw all your produce scraps in. Then have a large compost bin in the backyard where you put it all in. Let it decompose and you will have created a wonderful compost to use in your garden. If you don’t have room for a compost bin or if you live in an apartment or unit you can get a bokashi bin which sits under your sink and creates compost a lot faster. 

2. Start a worm farm. Worm love to eat your food scraps!! They eat and eat and eat and as a result create a wonderful fertiliser you can use on your garden. 

3. Get creative with leftovers. If you make a big salad for dinner and have some leftover why not use it the next day for lunch and bulk it up with some tinned tuna or roasted sweet potato? There are lots of ways to use left overs if you only get a bit creative! 

4. Change the way you shop. Plan your weekly meals so that you only get what you need. This will save you having things wilt away or go yucky as you know you will use them during the week. I like to completely empty my fridge before shopping again as I know I have then used everything

5. Learn how to store things properly so that you don’t have things that go stale. Glass jars or containers are a great way to keep things fresh. Or grab some pegs and use those to seal the bag. 

Head on over to our Facebook page to read more tips and tricks on how to become more sustainable with your food! 
Dr Alana :)