By GMB Health Advisor, Naturopath Amy Hotz
A good night’s sleep is vital for both our health and wellbeing. We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping, or - for many of us - trying to get to sleep! Poor sleep quality has a number of negative health implications that can impact our mood, emotions, productivity, immune system and also our ability to focus. While it’s always important to identify the root cause of your insomnia or poor sleep quality, there are some fantastic natural remedies and lifestyle practices that can help in the pursuit of an amazing night’s rest!
Switch off the screen!
My first tip to a blissful night’s sleep is to turn off all screens (mobile phones, television, computer, ipad) a few hours before bed time. The blue light and brightness of your screens has been proven to delay the body’s normal night time release of melatonin (the sleep hormone). I try not to look at my phone after 8:30pm. If you’re a screen junkie and simply can’t detach from your mobile device, purchase some blue light blocking glasses, which help block the light and can help improve sleep.
Create a sleep routine
Scheduling in your bedtime and sticking to a sleep routine will create good sleep hygiene. A regular sleep pattern will allow the body’s circadian rhythm to function at its optimal peak. Plan your bedtime for the same time each night and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep. Try jumping into bed by 9pm for one week and switching lights off by 9:30pm, your body will thank you!
A calming herbal tea is a key part of my bedtime ritual. Herbs such as chamomile, passionflower and lavender have natural calming and gentle sedative effects on the body. Simply brew up a cup of your favourite tea and enjoy in bed. Try The Goodnight Co Good Night Tea, which combines both chamomile and passionflower to create a super relaxing tea blend!
Eliminate stimulants such as coffee, sugar, alcohol and chocolate 3-4 hours before bed. Unfortunately your chocolate dessert may be the reason you are struggling to get to bed! The last thing your body needs when it is trying to wind down is a hit of sugar or caffeine. Swap your hot chocolate or coffee for a warm almond milk with cinnamon and spices or a dandelion chai.
If you have had a tough day and your mind is racing, try calm the body with an Epsom Salt bath. Epsom salts are naturally rich in magnesium; a nutrient that helps your muscles relax. Add a few drops of lavender essential oils and a relaxing meditative playlist and a good night of sleep is almost guaranteed!
My favourite way to fall asleep is to listen to a meditation track. When I was little my dad used to play the soothing tracks of Deva Premal at night to help me get to sleep. There are also some fantastic apps that can help calm the mind and get you bed ready such as Headspace and Smiling Mind. From guided mediation to meditative music, there is so much variety and choice for you to pick from - just try not to look at the screen ;)
Do you have any other natural sleep remedies you swear by? Let us know in the comments below!