Do you find yourself tossing and turning for hours? Or lying in bed staring at the ceiling begging for sleep to come? Or checking the clock constantly hoping that you’ve not spent half the night awake? You’re not alone – insomnia and sleep troubles affect many of us.
Struggling to sleep well often stems from stress. When we are stressed our mind becomes overactive which makes it hard to drift off.
Here are a few natural remedies that you can adopt to settle into a night of deep shut eye.
Yoga or Meditation
A gentle Yoga or Meditation practice just before bed can soothe your senses and quieten your mind.
Meditation helps you to focus your mind on a particular thought, object or activity to relieve stress and achieve a mentally clear and calm state. There are many guided meditations that you can access through various apps and websites such as Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer. Set up a relaxing space, put your headphones in and wind down.
Slipping into a few restorative Yoga poses can help to reduce fatigue and prepare the body for sleep. The following poses are perfect just before bedtime:
- Supported Butterfly pose
Setting up: lie down on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together letting your knees drop out wide. Lengthen your arms out either side of you and close your eyes. Consider placing some cushions underneath your knees if your hips are tight to make this more accessible.
- Legs up the wall pose
Setting up: lie down on the floor with your tailbone close to a wall, elevate your legs and rest your heels against the wall. You can always place a cushion underneath your head to make yourself more comfortable.
- Childs pose
Setting up: bring the knees out wide and send your hips to your heels. Reach the arms out in front of you and rest the forehead onto the earth.
Using essential oils can help to clear the mind and tell the body that it’s time to sleep. Lavender is the most popular essential oil for creating a calming, sleepy atmosphere. Why not place a few droplets onto your pillow or your pyjamas, or set up a diffuser in your bedroom? A few other aromatherapy oils believed to help with sleep include chamomile, patchouli and ylang-ylang.
There are also many tea blends that are believed to help induce a good night’s sleep. Boil up the kettle, brew a gorgeous cup and sit with a good book or meditation to really get the calm vibes flowing. Try chamomile, green or lavender tea. Make sure that the blends are low in caffeine.
Slipping into a relaxing bath before bed might be the ticket to a better night’s sleep. The hot water in your bath helps to lower your body’s core temperature. A drop in temperature can help to signal to your body that it’s time for bed. You can make your bath a beautiful ritual; use some bath salts or essential oils, dim the lights and enjoy!
Switch off digitally
We spend so much of our day staring at screens; laptops, TV, phones. The blue light emitted from these devices can block the hormone we need for sleep – melatonin. 60 minutes before you want to go to bed step away from all of your devices, including the TV. Spend that hour winding down for bed.
Limit your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a sleep inhibitor! Try to reduce your intake in the afternoon and evening. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, some medicines and alcohol can contain caffeine and prevent sleep.
Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s found in some foods, it helps to build serotonin which in turn is converted to melatonin. Eating a carbohydrate snack such as wholegrain crackers or foods rich in B6 such as sunflower seeds and bananas before bedtime can help enhance the body’s conversion of tryptophan.
Magnesium is also a natural sedative, foods rich in magnesium include seeds, leafy green vegetables, almonds, cashews and whole grains.
Adults, just like young children, can benefit from a sleep routine. Carrying out certain rituals in the hour leading up to bedtime can tell the body and mind that it’s time to switch off and rest.
Why not create your own bedtime ritual using one or more of the suggestions above? It can be a really lovely time to find a bit more calm in the chaos of life!