Feature in True Health magazine for founder Ollie Briggs, with advice on how to improve the quality of sleep.Good quality sleep is a challenge for many people and as with any health problem, the underlying issues and causative factors can vary widely, including hormones, adrenaline, inflammation, prescription drugs and sleep apnea. If you are getting insufficient sleep on a regular basis, it is advisable to work with a health practitioner to explore what could be driving this problem for you and to get personalised nutritional and lifestyle support. As the body is not able to heal and repair, a lack of sleep does not just cause tiredness. It can impact blood pressure, insulin resistance, mood, immune function and is a major risk factor for all degenerative conditions, including neurological disorders and heart disease.As the quality of sleep starts from the minute we wake, some general tips where possible include; getting natural sunlight into the eyes early, to help with circadian rhythm and to release chemicals to regulate sleep cycles. Eat good quality protein rich in tryptophan, such as chicken, eggs, almonds and pumpkin seeds, as this is needed to produce serotonin and melatonin which enhance sleep quality. Eat slow releasing carbohydrates such as sweet potato and legumes. These ensure blood sugar doesn’t drop too low and can also help to transport more tryptophan across the blood brain barrier and into the brain. Have a regular sleep schedule, try light exercise first thing in the morning, eliminate stimulants from mid-afternoon such as caffeine, watching the news and artificial light – computers, iPhones. Keep the bedroom cool and as dark as possible to help melatonin production and if you wake in the night for the toilet, consider reducing fluids late on. Don’t eat too late and reduce alcohol, as although it might not prevent you from falling asleep, it is shown to disrupt the quality of sleep.Lots of supplements may help but of course it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’. Try to find what works for you and possibly to correct an underlying cause first, such as stress, as this will have the biggest impact. Some recommendations then would be Magnesium, to help with melatonin production and low magnesium levels have been linked with insomnia. Vitamin B6 and L-Tryptophan can also help with melatonin and serotonin production and studies have linked a deficiency in Vitamin D to short sleep duration and poor sleep quality. It is worth checking Vitamin D levels at least once a year to ensure that it’s in optimal range at all times. Ask your GP or order a test online.