The recommended amount of sleep healthy adults should be getting each night is between seven and nine hours- a far fetched dream for most of us. Whilst there are a handful of people out there getting their recommended number of winks each night, and springing out of bed each morning, it is not the majority! For most of us, getting a full and restful night sleep can seem as easy to obtain as a mythical creature. With each alarm that goes off the snooze button gets ever more tempting, our bed somehow seems cosier than it was last night, and we roll out of bed promising ourselves we will go to bed early tonight. So what is going wrong?
When we are burning the candle at both ends, it is easy to become both mentally and physically tired. You would think this would make it easier to fall asleep at night, right? If only it was that easy. When we have a ‘to do list’ as long as your arm and you’re juggling a whole host of different things, we can often find ourselves away at night, too full of adrenaline to doze off again. Not only is lack of sleep damaging to our long-term health and immunity, but it can also inhibit our productivity, positivity, metabolism. Here is a list of our all natural ways to overcome sleep problems:
Eat the right foods
What you eat and how well you sleep may seem unconnected, but maintaining a nutritious diet is important when it comes to catching good quality z’s. Eating the right foods can be difficult when we are constantly on the move, but simple change can make all of the difference. Where possible, avoid starchy carbs and substitute overly processed foods for fresh produce. Instead, incorporate tryptohpan rich foods such as seeds, soya, cheese, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, fish, beans and lentils. Tryptohpan is an essential amino acid that we do not produce ourselves but which actually promotes sleep.
Caffeine is one of the biggest causes of interrupted sleep. If you're suffering from sleep problems, caffeine is definitely not your friend! When we drink our morning cup of coffee there is usually a sharp burst of energy before we need the next fix. However, your afternoon fix can be having more of an affect that you realise, with caffeine having a half life of five to six hours. So if you’ve had your last mug at 5pm, half of that caffeine is still in your system by 10pm! But don’t panic, to get a good night's sleep you don’t have to swear off caffeine all together. Consider having a caffeine curfew put in place that will limit you to non-caffeinated drinks after midday.
Get some exercise
After spending the day commuting and working the last thing you might want to do is exercise. The exhaustion you feel however, is from all the work our brains have been doing, not our bodies. If you have been sitting down all day at work and on a train, our bodies are simply not tired or ready for bed! Fitting exercise into your busy routine does not have to mean taking two hours out of your day to visit the gym. An at-home work out can be just as effective in half the time. If you fit in regular exercise you will find yourself with more energy during the day, and feeling more sleepy at night.
Avoid blue light
‘Blue light’ is what you call the light that is emitted from our laptop, TV, tablet or mobile phone. Blue light can have extremely negative effects on our sleep as it stimulates our brain and signals our body to stay awake. For the last hour before bed, avoid using any of these devices as much as possible. So next time you are tempted to check your social media or your emails before bed, try switching off your devices and settling into bed with a good book instead.
Essential oils can have a very calming and sedative effect that help us drift off to sleep. Lavender is the most well-known essential oil for helping us to get sleepy, but there are more out there that can help us feel serene. Our Sleep Well Aromatherapy Balm has a blend of lavender, palmarosa and ylang ylang. Rub our aromatherapy balm onto your temples and pulse points, and as your skin warms the oils you will release the sweet aromas that can help you drift off.
Similarly with blue light, any light can stimulate our bodies to wake up before we are ready. Whether it is light from your alarm clock, natural daylight leaking in through the curtains, a mobile phone screen or a night light, they can all keep us awake at night or cause us to wake up too early. Where possible, get rid of all light and you will instantly notice a positive change in your sleep. Ideas to consider are blackout blinks and sleep masks, both particularly effective in the summer!