Sleep issues are one of the many reasons people come and see me for help and support. Alongside remedies and herbs, there are a number of self-help options available to you…….
Spend time in natural light
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm which tells your body when it is day time and when it is night time, this “clock” is triggered mostly by light.
One of the first things I look at with people is their own rhythm of sleep, what time they go to bed and what time they wake up, to ascertain how their own sleep cycle operates.
Sunlight and natural daylight help to keep this rhythm healthy. Stress and anxiety of any kind, keeping the body in a state of ‘fight or flight’ has the opposite effect! Using remedies and herbs to help address the stress and support the adrenal glands, people are more able to maintain a regular sleep pattern
Avoid blue light at night
Exposure to natural light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure, particularly to that from computer and phone screens has the opposite effect!
Again, due to the impact on your circadian rhythm … when we are exposed to blue light at night it triggers our brain into thinking it is still day time, and completely disturbs your sleep hormones. Avoiding screen use and not having your phone in the bedroom at night will greatly reduce the amount of blue light your body is exposed to.
Reduce your caffeine intake
An obvious one. When consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
A recent study found that consuming caffeine even up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality! Even decaf drinks still contain some caffeine, so consider stopping drinking them after midday. Many people’s energy levels drop mid-afternoon, which is when they reach for a pick me up. I often suggest people try coca complex for a natural caffeine free, mood enhancing alternative. I also suggest the Neal’s Yard supplement Beauty Sleep, a combination of vitamins and herbs to support the skin and nervous system to aid sleep and improve your skin!
Develop a Routine
The body loves routine! By setting your alarm for the same time each day, and going to sleep around the same time each evening, your body will be more likely to find its own routine for the sleep/wake cycle.
One study found that bedroom temperature affected sleep quality more than external noise! Having a warm bath before bed helps many people, but make sure you don’t use the buddle bath labelled ‘invigorating’ instead consider a relaxing buddle bath or some beauty sleep butter and a relaxing aromatherapy roller ball to place on your wrists. A pillow spray with lavender works well for some too. My daughter swears by the Goodnight Pillow Spray from Neal’s Yard!
Avoid eating late at night
Eating late at night can disrupt your body’s ability to have a restful sleep and eating a high carb meal 4 hours before bed helps aid a great night sleep … now carbs may not be the answer for everyone, but consider cutting out heavy foods more than 4 hours before bed, to allow your digestive system to have a break.
These are just a few suggestions, do get in touch if you’d like some more support or advice on any remedies or products which may help