Guest Blog by expert Naturopath Jo Wilson. Jo is English-born, now based in Australia with clients all around the world. For online consultations with Jo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi, I'm a naturopath, lecturer and mentor to students and have a passion for all things health-related. I see many people struggling with sleep, and I see how their life is seriously disrupted by not getting enough Zzzs!!
So why do we need sleep? Not only is it when we do all our physical and mental repairs, but we also get the energy we need to continue our daily activities and do it with a smile on our face? There are different phases in sleep and we need to get into a deep sleep in order to benefit. Without this, we can experience mental fogginess, being forgetful, anxiety, headaches, difficulty managing our mood and we can just get plain cranky to those we love. Getting through the day can be a chore and we just feel awful.
Without enough sleep we are at risk of our immune system becoming problematic, our cardiovascular system being out of sync and our blood sugar levels fluctuating more than we want. Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for good health.
How do we get better sleep?
In the Bedroom:
- Keep the light to warm yellow lights. Blue light that emits from laptops, tablets and phones reduces melatonin which is an essential hormone for regulating sleep.
- Put your phone on flight mode if you want to use it as a clock.
- Make sure there is enough fresh air but no drafts.
- Keep your bedroom quiet and dark to help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
- Invest in good bed linen. Comfortable sheets are an absolute must.
- Keep your bedtime to approximately the same time every night and make sure that it gives you enough sleep time. If you get up at six am, plan for sleep between nine-thirty and ten the night before.
- The last hour should be winddown time. Turn off screens, have a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint, a cup of warm milk or a small handful of pumpkin seeds. This will make sure you have all the things needed for sleep such as essential fatty acids, protein and a relaxing drink.
- You could take a warm shower or bath and put a few drops of lavender essential oil on a face cloth, pop it at your feet in the shower or let it float in the bath and let the smell do the rest. You could also burn a few drops of lavender essential oil in a burner in the evening.
- Turn the lights down, or even using candles can induce a relaxed feeling. Make sure they are natural candles so as not to cause headaches! Take care to blow them out before you hit the hay.
- Think about doing some progressive muscle relaxation such as Yoga Nidra. This helps to switch off the mind, keep it focused on one thing and it reminds your muscles to relax and to stay that way while you sleep. Once you have mastered this, you may use it at any time. It is an old practice that keeps you on track with managing your thoughts, increasing your energy and it keeping you calm. It is an invaluable tool to have in your life toolbox.
When you wake up:
- If you can, sit in the morning sunlight to start your day and breath in the sun as it rises. If it’s not there, imagine it is.
- Start the day with a big glass of water and some lemon juice to rehydrate your body after the long night.
- Caffeine can last several hours in the body and affect sleep. Remember, no caffeine after midday.
- Save alcohol for a few days per week and stop a couple of hours before bed. Drink only 2 servings of alcohol at any time.
If you think you have a problem with sleep, contact a qualified health professional for help and advice. As a naturopath, I use herbs, supplements, lifestyle and assessment to help you restore a refreshing sleep.
To speak with Jo or arrange an online consultation, email email@example.com
Some items that might make your sleep better straight away are:
- Pukka (plastic-free organic herbal tea)
- Purely Organic (organic essential lavender oils and other products)
- Silk eye mask
- Silk pillowcase