How’s your sleep?
It’s small wonder many of us have noticed changes in our sleep these past few months in response to the drastic changes in our everyday life.
The fortunate ones among us are sleeping better than ever and some are enjoying more vivid dreams but for others, the feeling of lock-down isolation and pandemic uncertainty have taken their toll on our sleep.
Mercifully, there are steps you can take to remedy those restless nights and take the reins in this vital area of your health.
A good night’s sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. It’s vital for your physical and mental wellbeing and leaves you stronger to cope with the demands of life.
Lack of sleep throws your cortisol and melatonin levels off balance and robs your body of the chance to work optimally.
Quality sleep allows your body to regenerate, heal and recover whilst
poor sleep does the opposite and the very outward symptoms of dark circles and dull skin start to show. Under the surface, adrenal fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration, low mood and irritability can kick in.
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain as ghrelin (the hunger hormone) spikes which has you reaching for instant fuel – often a high carb quick fix to keep your eyes open. According to The Academy of Sleep, a good night’s rest improves attentiveness, cognitive function and memory.
Not enough sleep accelerates the aging process; During deep sleep, growth hormones rise and allow damaged cells to repair. Without the deeper phases of sleep, this won’t occur – yes, there’s a reason it’s called “Beauty Sleep”.
3 steps to replenishing, relaxing sleep…
- Nature’s Helpers
Lavender is widely known as the go-to essential oil to calm the body and induce sleep. It’s a versatile oil most commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Epsom Salts: Take one cup of Epsom salts add 20 drops of Lavender essential oil and disperse into a warm bath before bedtime. The salts contain magnesium – a mineral to calm and relax muscles.
Lavender derives its name from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash”. The Romans used Lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and hair and the great Greco-Roman physician Claudius Galen recommended this aromatic plant be used on the centurions. Paradoxically, this delicate purple flower is strong bedtime armour when battling insomnia.
Chamomile: The ancient Egyptians drank chamomile for the sweet, soothing effect. Once consumed, the apigenin, starts to work – a phenolic flavonoid that has sleep and tranquillity enhancing effects. This herb also reduces stress and anxiety making it the perfect nightcap drink.
Lavender and Chamomile are the perfect blend to encourage sleep.
2. Sleep Habits: Your brain is like a pet, you can’t tell it to sleep, you train it. According to sleep experts, training yourself into good habits is the key. Did you know that five consecutive nights of unbroken sleep sets you up nicely for establishing a healthy sleep pattern. What are the habits? Good practice and environment. People who enjoy quality sleep start to unwind earlier in the evening with a relaxing bath, a change into nightwear lowered noise and lighting, a warm herbal or milky drink ( leave the coffee to morning time – caffeine taken after 6pm circulates in your system until early morning) Switch off from work – burning the midnight oil is not a sustainable habit. Alcohol may help you nod off but it doesn’t make for quality sleep – it negates all the restorative benefits of sleep as your body works on the toxins.
3. Environment: Your Bedroom is Your Sanctuary.
Reset the bedroom in the morning so you always have a welcoming space to retire to. Have your PJ’s waiting for you on your pillow. Ditch the gadgets and technology, we all know blue light tricks your brain into thinking “wake up, its daytime!”. Opt for paper books instead. If you can’t resist screen gazing then dim the setting or purchase blue light blocking glasses. Air the room, freshen the sheets, keep your bedroom welcoming and tidy. Lower the lights, diffuse your oils and mist your pillow with a gentle sleep spray. Set a comfortably cool temperature. Keep a little notepad and pen at your bedside (your brain can’t rest when its clinging on to thoughts and ideas that would be better off loaded onto paper). Keep a bottle of water to hand and maybe a soft eye mask if you prefer. As for snoring partners or housemates, that’s for you to manage…maybe invest in some earplugs or you could modify the current trend and impose audio social distancing!
” Sleep well tonight “
24th May 2020