Something so vital for our health yet many of us have problems getting a good night’s sleep.
Whether we cut back on it in a frantic attempt to fit more into the day due to the pressures of a busy life or we simply can’t seem to get enough quality sleep. Many of us are suffering with sleep problems for various reasons but thankfully there are plenty of things we can do to help.
The importance of sleep
It’s really important for us to get the balance right between activity and rest. Sleep has regenerative effects and lack of it affects energy, moods, blood sugar levels, pain, memory and learning, among many other things.
We all need different amounts of sleep but getting quality sleep is what matters. We cycle in and out of REM sleep 4 times a night. REM sleep is the rapid eye movement stage and that is when you dream. Some people don’t get into REM, so they awake feeling unrefreshed and some people come out of REM and wake up instead of going back into another REM cycle and then can’t get back to sleep.
Melatonin, a hormone, is released when it gets dark. It makes us feel drowsy and affects our circadian rhythms so is vital for sleep!
Common sleep problems
- Difficulty getting to sleep
- Poor quality sleep – waking up un-refreshed, waking up with the slightest noise
- Waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep
Top Tips for Sleep
- Turn off all electrics (for example phones, laptops, routers) as blue light from screens interferes with melatonin.
- Avoid caffeine beyond midday or at least 3-4 hours before bed.
- Ensure room is completely dark by using black out blinds/curtains and turn off all lights.
- Start the winding down process 1- 2 hours before you want to sleep.
- Avoid sugary foods late at night, as it causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels which can wake you up.
- Try having tryptophan foods in the evening such as oats, turkey, dates, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Tryptophan converts to serotonin and then to melatonin.
- Alcohol late at night will have a stimulatory effect as it wears off around 3am and this may wake you up.
- Enjoy a daytime nap? This may cause problems with sleep at night. If you do feel yourself needing a nap, make sure it’s before 3pm, no more than 30-45 minutes.
- Regular, daily exercise promotes sleep and the endorphins released help reduce stress. However, be careful with high intensity exercise late in the evening as it can raise cortisol levels (same hormone that is released when we’re under stress).
- Set a good routine up going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time every day.
- A night time ritual that you enjoy and can stick to will help you get ready for sleep. Perhaps a relaxing herbal drink followed by reading a book in bed, or having a warm bath.
Supplements and products to support sleep
We’ve got lots of lovely products in the shop that can support sleep. Here are a few that customers have given us great feedback on:-
This is is an easy pill free option to help support sleep. This sweet tasting spray is a blend of 5-HTP, lemon balm and passionflower specifically designed to be taken before bed.
This is a great tasting powder which is added to water about 60 minutes before going to bed. This blend contains magnesium and cherry with red date and glycine which have all been shown to support sleep.
This is a powder form magnesium complex. Simply add a scoop to water or your choice of plant based milk about 60 minutes before bed. This blend contains cherry, magnesium and green oat seed which is known for its calming visits.
A Vogel Dormesan
These herbal drops contain valerian and hops. To use, add 30 drops to a little water around 30 minutes before you go to bed. It's non habit forming so you don't get dependant on it.
Bach's flower remedies are well known by many, and the makers of the bestselling Rescue Remedy have created this flower essences blend with White Chestnut to switch off a racing mind. Use the drops straight into the mouth.
Teas to help support sleep
We have a selection of 'night time' teas in store including Berry Night and Night Time from Pukka, Sleepytime Tea from Celestial Seasonings, Dr Stuart's Valerian Plus and Snore & Peace from Clipper.
Other products in the range
Lavender is well used to support sleep and is available as a room spray and essential oil from Absolute Aromas. BetterYou have created a lavender infused magnesium body oil and The Wheat Bag Company use fresh dried lavender in their microwaveable wheat bag pillows.
Book your FREE Sleep Health Check-in
If you are experiencing problems falling asleep, staying asleep or recognise any of the difficulties detailed above you may benefit from our FREE advice check-in. Complete the Sleep Quiz by clicking on the image to the right and our registered Nutritional Therapist will talk to you about your sleep goals and offer advice.