Continuing from our last blog, we look at simple and natural ways you can benefit from a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
- Limit Caffeine
Adenosine is a bodily substance that makes us feel sleepy, but caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist. Educate yourself in caffeine levels and make a few adjustments to your daily intake. Bear in mind that caffeine is a drug with a half-life of 3-5 hours, so it can take anything up to 14 hours to eliminate its effects from your system. As little as 100mg of caffeine in the morning – a medium sized cup of coffee – can interrupt your sleep at the end of the day. Millions of us metabolize caffeine more slowly than others, so that rush you need mid-morning can sometimes be deferred.
- Try Aromatherapy
Lavender oil is specifically useful in promoting light sleep, whilst chamomile oil treats anxiety and can act as a mild sedative. Add a few drops of either or both to your bedtime bath, or burn a little oil in a diffuser to create a calming atmosphere in your bedroom before you climb into bed. Herbs like lemon balm, passion flower, magnolia and valerian root are other natural antidotes to sleeplessness, so look for teas, creams and supplements with these ingredients in your local health food shop. Supplements are another avenue to explore if you’re struggling to wind down at night. Magnesium is a calmative mineral which can encourage sleep, plus it’s non-addictive, unlike some prescription sleeping pills.
- Eat for Sleep
We’ve already discussed how melatonin promotes deep sleep, but did you know you can boost your daily dose by eating the right foods? Eating melatonin-rich foods can help reset your circadian rhythm and deepen your REM sleep stage (where a lot of the best repair work takes place.) Flax, pumpkin and poppy seeds are all melatonin-rich, as are cherries, eggs, bananas and lentils.
- Be Consistent
Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day will reinforce your body’s sensitive sleep-wake cycle, and helps you sleep better in the long term. It might be a hard resolution to stick to at weekends, but the more consistent you are, the quicker your mind and body will learn when to feel sleepy and when to become alert again. One condition, though: if you struggle to fall asleep, give yourself 15 minutes and if you’re still awake, do something to help you to nod off. Read a book, put the radio on low or adjust your pillows.
- Try SnoreWizard
If your sleep cycle is disturbed by your own snoring, then we recommend trying an anti-snoring mouth guard which is designed to move your lower jaw slightly forward while you sleep. This opens the airway at the back of the throat, reducing or completely ceasing the vibration which causes troublesome snoring sounds which can disturb restorative REM sleep. To buy SnoreWizard, which includes a money back guarantee, click here.