Lack of sleep is a stressor. When you are stressed you stimulate release of the hormone cortisol. Stress can be physical (demanding on the body), mental and emotional - it comes in all forms! Cortisol tells your body to store more fat and is the hormone that wakes you up in the morning. Here are a few tips to get better sleep.
Light - keep your bedroom completely dark, with no interference from electronic lighting or outside sources. It should be pitch black. Even with your eyes closed your brain can receive light stimuli, which will reduce your melatonin levels and interfere with sleep.
Stimulants - avoid sugar and caffeine drinks, including chocolate, coffee, tea, stimulating herbs, from early afternoon onwards.
Blood sugar - eat a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrate (vegetables) and fat (healthy fats!) at dinner. Try to avoid a bedtime snack but if needed, it must be free of sugar and refined carbohydrate, but a carbohydrate snack at night can help some people rest better throughout the evening.
Electromagnetic / Radiation - turn off electric deices in your room and keep your cell phone in a different room. Do not look at it during the night as the light stimuli will start to wake your body.
Schedule - keep to a regular sleep schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Cortisol starts rising in your body from 2am, so the best restful sleep is pre midnight and the 2 hours after.
Magnesium - 200 mg up to 400 mg before you go to bed will calm your muscles and nerves.