The Sleep Regime: Part 2
To function well throughout the day, we need a good night’s sleep. The better we sleep, the better we feel the following day.
But so many of us struggle to get a proper, full, restful sleep. To that end, we are running a series of blog posts about sleep. First up was supplements. Today we discuss sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene describes the practices and rituals put in place to ensure a good night’s sleep. Putting on your pyjamas and brushing your teeth doesn’t count. An effective sleep hygiene routine settles your mind and body, readying you for a restful night ahead, and results in improved daytime alertness.
Here are our top tips for a sleep hygiene routine that will help you wind down and ease into a peaceful evening, so you drift off to sleep. Incorporate one, a few or all of these tips and notice the difference straight away.
- Establish a regular bedtime routine. It could be as simple as sipping a cup of chamomile tea in the evening or playing some relaxing music in your bedroom. Creating a routine will trigger the brain into rest mode.
- Switch off. Evidence shows that using electronic devices before bedtime suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. Try turning off your mobile and iPad before you enter the bedroom and see how it affects your sleep. Try reading an old-fashioned book made of paper!
- Meditate and/or practice yoga. Gentle yoga stretches will help your body let go of the day’s stress. Even 10 minutes on the mat will result in a more comfortable sleep. Yoga apps like Downward Dog and Gaia, and YouTube videos such as Yoga with Adrienne offer bedtime yoga practices to get you started. Likewise, meditation will help your mind let go of the day. Listen to a guided meditation, relaxing music or simple silence to calm your busy brain.
- Have an evening cuppa. Did you know cherry juice is known to promote drowsiness? Active Edge’s Cherry Active is an all-natural cherry concentrate made without sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings. Mix into a bedtime smoothie or dilute with water and sip before bed. We offer a wide and wonderful range of relaxing, non-caffeinated teas, too. Nature’s Wish has three soothing herbal teas ideal for bedtime: Tranquility is a chamomile and rose herbal infusion that includes anxiety-relieving ashwagandha; Peace is a floral honeybush infusion with ashwagandha, lemon balm, rose and passion flowers; and Serenity is a rooibos and lavender infusion that blends earthy rooibos with floral rose, elderflower and lavender.
From the Pukka range, Night Time Tea combines oat flower, lavender and lime flower to help you relax; Chamomile, Vanilla & Manuka Honey adds sweet notes to the traditional bedtime tea; Relax Tea blends chamomile with fennel and ginger to ease digestion; and Peace Tea combines ashwagandha with chamomile, spearmint, hemp, licorice and lavender for the ultimate soothing cup.
For those of you who like a warm mug of milk or hot chocolate, try Pukka’s Cacao Maca Magic Organic Latte, a chocolatey blend including ashwagandha, cacao, maca, cinnamon and cardamom. The Night Time Organic Latte unwinds with oats, ashwagandha, coconut milk, nutmeg, chamomile and cinnamon. Just add milk to either latte blend and enjoy.
- Choose a bedtime snack carefully. Try not to eat too close to bedtime – you don’t want to stimulate your digestive system right before you lie down for the evening. If you do need a snack, avoid foods that are heavy, rich, spicy or sugary, all of which would have adverse effects to physical relaxation. Good choices include porridge, high in carbs and melatonin; milk, which contains tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the production of melatonin; bananas also contain tryptophan as well as magnesium (which we discussed in our last sleep post); and almonds and walnuts include melatonin as well.
Let us know your top tips for serene sleep hygiene. Next time: Sleep environment.