GETTING A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP – TIPS!
This week Penny gives us advice and tips for a better and more restful nights sleep.
Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function, but of course, we all know this! How many times has a sleepless and restless night led to a dysfunctional day with fraught temper and relationships?
However, it isn’t just poor brain function and irritability that can result from lack of sleep. Did you know that it can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children? In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier, and also give improved brain function and relationships.
Over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined. In fact, many people regularly get poor sleep because of the way life is in the 21st century. We stare at our PC, phone and other gadgets for hours at a time. These all emit blue light, which can really impede on the body’s ability to sleep. We also rush around more and try to fit more into each day. I feel that this is due to email. Where in the old days we used to wait for Royal Mail, now mail is instant – and we feel we need to reply instantly, and so everything in life is now becoming more ‘instant’. 5G will download videos ‘instantly’ and on it goes. We feel pressured, we feel tired, we feel anxious and stressed, because the more time we save on instant gadgets, for some reason, the less time we have to relax, because we fit more into our day. So, if you want to optimise your health or lose weight, or feel less anxious and pressured, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve this.
Increase exposure to light during the day
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm which influences your brain, other organs and hormonal system, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. Natural sunlight and/or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy, so giving your body plenty of light will improve daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration. Ylang ylang essential oil can help with insomnia, and in addition to daylight exposure, will improve sleep quality and duration. It can also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. If sunlight exposure is not practical, invest in daylight bulbs for your home.
Get rid of blue light exposure in the evening
Too much light in the evenings impacts your circadian rhythm, and reduces the melatonin hormone levels, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime, so use yellow light bulbs at low wattage in lamps for the evenings. Blue light, found in smartphones and other devices is the worst light in the evening as this also reduces melatonin and tricks the body that it is still daytime. Switch off your devices at night, and never have them in your bedroom. If you have a TV or landline phone in the room, switch it off at the wall so there are no other distracting lights near you while you sleep. Bergamot essential oil is cleansing and can reduce toxicity in the body, but it is also known to help balance your circadian rhythm, which is why this oil is included in the Wind Down and Relax brand.
Don’t drink coffee in the evenings
Caffeine has numerous benefits and is actually good for your heart. One single espresso can enhance your focus and energy and generally keep your circulation healthy. However, if you drink coffee in the evening, because it stimulates your nervous system as well as increasing your heart rate, it may prevent your body from naturally relaxing at night. Research has found that drinking coffee up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality because this is how long the caffeine will stay in your body.
Try not to sleep too long in the day
While short power naps can be beneficial to some, long sleep during the day can negatively affect your nighttime sleep. This is because it confuses your internal body clock. Using Wind Down and Relax Bath Soak, with ylang-ylang, bergamot and lavender before bedtime can reduce your need to sleep during the day by encouraging a deeper, less anxious sleep at night.
Your circadian rhythm functions on a set clock, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset, so being consistent with your bedtime and rising time can significantly improve your mood. When the clocks are moved an hour in spring and autumn, this is known to disrupt most of the population for a few weeks, where circadian rhythm has to realign and retrain. Using trusted natural essential oils in a body lotion can really help your clock to readjust.
Consider herbal supplements
Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, so contact your local pharmacist for their advice. Valerian root is a common supplement that is often recommended and works well in conjunction with the Penny Price Wind Down and Relax Range.
Don’t overdo the wine!
Drinking alcohol at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones (decreasing your melatonin levels). It can also increase snoring and disrupt your sleep pattern as your liver tries to cleanse overnight, giving hot sweats.
Make your bedroom a calm, relaxing haven
A messy and cluttered bedroom will produce a messy and cluttered mind, which is not conducive to great sleep. Make sure your bedroom is as clean and tidy as it can be, at ambient temperature (not too hot), and your bed is properly made. Take care to make the bedroom as dark as possible and as noise-proof as possible. If you live by a busy road with streetlamps, consider black-out blinds and earplugs. Drop 2 drops of lavender oil on the corner of your pillowcase and relax before going to sleep, either by mediation or reading. If you still find it difficult to sleep, investigate Feng Shui techniques of arranging your bedroom furniture for the best flow of energy through the room.
Don’t Eat Late in the Evening
Late-night eating can impact both sleep quality and the natural release of melatonin. Having said that, the food you eat last could play a role. Carbohydrate-rich evening meals tend to induce a deeper sleep. This could be because carbohydrates take a long time to digest, and therefore keep you feeling comfortably satisfied for longer.
Declutter your mind
Meditation, visualisation and relaxation techniques before going to bed can calm the mind and body and prepare the body for sleep. This will also still the mind of the day’s worries and anxieties, leading to a better night’s sleep. Using a vaporiser in the bedroom with 5 drops of our Nurture Rest pure essential oil blend can calm the mind, dull anxieties and prepare body and mind for relaxation and rest.
Massage is relaxing to the muscular, circulatory and nervous systems, so if there is someone who can massage you in the evening, even if it is just the feet or the shoulders, let them! It will really help to sedate the nerves ready for bed. If you are alone, try massaging your feet and hands – every little helps. You can try Nurture Peace massage oil, by Penny Price Aromatherapy as this is a ready-made massage oil to induce calm and peace.
Have a bath or shower
A relaxing bath or shower is a really popular way to better sleep. Penny Price Aromatherapy has lots of different ranges for bath and shower, and aftercare body moisture creams, but for sleep, we recommend our Wind Down and Relax range, with shower gel, bath soak, body scrub and body moisture cream, all in hand tubes. The lavender, ylang-ylang and bergamot, in these rich formulations, are all designed to help you to have a fabulously relaxing night’s sleep. If you don’t have time for a bath (which is the most relaxing self-help treatment for sleep), try using the Wind Down and Relax Bath Soak in a warm foot spa for 20 minutes before bed.
Make sure your mattress is right for your body
A mattress needs replacing every 8 years, so it is very important that when you change it you go to a professional outlet who will do a return and replace for you if you find you have chosen the wrong one. I advise that you never buy a mattress online and that you only buy from a reputable store who will advise and allow you to lie on the display beds for as long as you like. After all, you take a lot of trouble to choose your car, and you probably change that sooner than 8 years!
Get the right pillows and bedding
Again, go to a reputable store where you can actually lie down and try the pillow. Ask for advice and tell the shop assistant exactly how you sleep (side, back, curled up etc.) as this does make a difference to the type of pillow you should have. A bad pillow will give you neck tension and headaches – and you don’t go to bed to get those! Your bedding also makes a difference. Most people sleep more comfortably in cotton sheets than in mixed fibre sheets, as cotton helps regulate body temperature and is absorbent should you perspire in the night
Take regular, steady exercise
Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health (not of course just before bed), so take the stairs not the lift, and walk wherever you can. Exercise does not mean punishing your body by hard regimes, it simply means to use your muscles in your everyday life as they were always meant to be used. Exercise releases good hormones such as endorphins and adrenaline, which during the day is a great thing, as once these have worn off, sleep comes more naturally. It stands to reason that if you do nothing all day, there is no reason to sleep well.
If you’ve always struggled with sleep, it may be wise to consult with your doctor.
If you take your wellbeing and wellness seriously, as well as your quality of life, then sleep is essential. Visit www.penny-price.com for more products, email [email protected] for bespoke advice or call 01455 251020