Our top tips to help you get a better sleep each night
Science of sleep – why we need it, what happens when we don’t get it, what we can do about it.
Taking time after a long day to prepare the body and mind for rest is vital. Without good sleep our body doesn’t function as well as it could. Poor memory, mood changes, weakened immunity and weight gain are some of the documented effects of poor sleeping habits.
Sleep and stress – One of the key things Dr Libby Weaver talks about is the benefits of sleep. Good quality restorative sleep. In order to achieve this type of rest, you need to activate the part of your nervous system that helps you to ‘rest and repair’. There are some ‘sciency’ aspects to sleep including melatonin and serotonin production, gut health, adrenalin and cortisol production which should all be addressed by a trained professional such as a naturopath. However, today I want to keep it very simple and low key. Knowing that one of the key elements to reducing stress in our lives and in our body is getting good quality sleep is the first step.
So, what are 5 steps for a better sleep?
1. Take a bath
Bathing was the original form of therapeutic treatment and was used for a wide array of ailments. Immersing the body in warm water can increase core and skin temperature increasing blood flow throughout the body, eliminating metabolic waste, relax muscles, soften ligaments and reduce pain. It’s a wonderful way to signal your body to slow down and relax. Take time to create a ritual space for yourself. Disconnect from your screens; lower the lights and set the mood. Stay hydrated with a large glass of water or herbal tea. Consider using a relaxing bath soak like our Dream Herbal bath soak with ancient minerals, herbs and essential oils, all designed to get you relaxing like a Queen.
2. Herbal Tea
Ditching the caffeine can have multiple effects on the body, not just sleep. Again, Dr Libby Weaver (yes, I know, I’m addicted – Listen to her podcasts here…), talks a lot about caffeine. Not just coffee but tea and chocolate. Caffeine leads to the production of adrenaline. This is the hormone that controls our fight or flight response. It messes up our body’s natural balance of fat and glucose burning, can often lead us to crave sugar and ironically leave us with less energy.
Try to reduce your intake slowly over days to avoid that sudden withdrawal and consider replacing your habit with calmer alternatives. I have now replaced my evening cup of tea with Rancho Relaxo herbal tea from Heart therapeutics. With lavender, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, passionflower and Chamomile it is a beautiful fragrant tea that is used to invoke a sense of peace and calm to the mind and body. It is specifically blended using herbs known to aid in periods of stress and anxiety and is pretty yummy!
3. Digital detox
It is well known that the blue lights from our screens emit signals that tell your brain it is still daytime. When this type of light hits your eye, melatonin, (the sleep hormone) production is inhibited. It can only be produced in complete darkness. Using screens before bed can have a massive impact on this. Not only that, the content you are consuming right before bed can play on your mind. Do you really need to know what Sally ate for dinner or how Ben’s new workout gear looks on? No. Try to break up your technology habit before bed and track your results for at least a week. The results might surprise you!
This is a practice I started a long time ago when I started night duty. Anyone working shift work knows how hard it is to sleep during the day so finding hacks to help is an absolute lifesaver. What I didn’t know at the time was just how beneficial eye pillows were and why. Research shows that light pressure applied on the eyes, can lower the heart rate. One of the nerves that originates in our brain is called the vagus nerve. It travels down the back of the neck, into the chest and heart and into the abdomen.
By using an eye pillow, the pressure on the eyes stimulates this reflex and nerve. The digestive tract, our mood, heart and our rest-digest system all react by slowing down. The gentle weight of the eye pillow also cuts out visual stimulus (see above = melatonin production). The lack of light sends a message to your brain that it is time to be still. And signals the rest of the body permission to relax. For best practice, combine this with deep breathing to help reduce stress and calm the mind to relax before bed.
The mind is a funny, cluttered and busy little creature. Try and start a habit of writing down all the ‘things’ or the ‘to-do’ lists in your head before you go to bed. This practice of self-reflection is something we are taught as nurses and plays a very important role in protecting our mental health and unwinding after stressful situations. It allows you to physically unload your thoughts and feelings onto paper to clear the mind. This way your mind (and body) can slow down and relax clearing the way for new energy overnight. Use our beautiful journal from Pass around the smile right before you go to bed to help you relax and set up for a good night sleep.
So, there you go.
5 simple tips to help you get a better night sleep. Start creating simple habits and rituals that improve your health and wellbeing overall.
And don’t forget, tag on socials if you try any of our tips! We love to see your rituals being practiced.
For more articles about health and wellness this season, make sure you grab this seasons copy of BLOOM Magazine. Download your free digital copy here