There is nothing as restorative as a deep sleep.
Nothing is as restorative as a deep sleep. That nightly oasis we enter, when the hormone melatonin successfully plunges us into sleep, allows the body to repair itself, the mind to refresh and we wake to reap its beautifying effects.
When sleep doesn’t come naturally, not only does our mood and thinking suffer, but we’re also at higher risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.
Sleep research is highlighting that sleep is as fundamental to wellbeing as diet and exercise, and as essential to survival as water and oxygen
Here are the 11 best sleep tips I have learned (so far):
1. Get to bed by 10pm three nights each week.
The first 4 hours of sleep are used primarily for major cleansing of the brain and body. The optimal time for this to occur, according to our circadian rhythms, is between 10pm and 2am.
2. Eat a light dinner around 6pm (particularly on early-to-bed-nights).
This way your body can repair and cleanse during sleep, rather than digesting a late or heavy supper.
3. Ensure your sleeping space is relaxing.
Remove any devices emitting electromagnetic energy, control noise and minimise light. Try to have fresh air moving through your space, to keep it well ventilated. This is a key element of ‘sleep hygiene’.
4. Avoid ingesting nervous system irritants.
These include caffeine, nicotine, aspartame and other chemical food additives, excessive sugar as found in soft drinks and drink minimal alcohol. Even natural remedies like ginsengs, tulsi, licorice, peppermint and Vitamin B complex can stimulate sensitive people’s nervous systems and delay or disrupt sleep, so consume these earlier in the day. Also avoid irritating topics and conversations, so your brain doesn’t keep you up arguing all night.
5. Develop a sleep ritual.
Our bodymind feels more relaxed when in a routine, particularly in relation to sleep. Having a regular routine before bed can signal the body to wind down and prepares it more fully for a restorative sleep.
6. Clear the space.
Given the pace of life we lead, our mental space is often so cluttered with “things” that we are too busy ruminating these to allow sleep to come. If this happens to you, try having everything prepared for the next day before hand, and have a pen and paper to write lists down on. Doing so can allow your mind at rest, knowing that you will deal with them when you wake up.
7. If winding down is difficult for you, try a systematic body relaxation process.
If winding down is difficult for you, try a systematic body relaxation process. This involves placing your mental attention into each area of your body from toes to crown and back down again, whilst breathing into the belly, spaciously and fluidly. You can check out the one I employed in the relaxation MP3 Supported Spaciousness.
8. Sip a herbal tea.
Drink a calming herbal tea, such as chamomile or lemon balm – a couple of hours before bed. Discuss with a herbalist how appropriate stronger sedatives like valerian, passionflower, St John’s wort, kava, hops or zizyphus are for you. This is particularly important if you are taking other medications at the same time, due to possible interactions.
9. Eat a nourishing sleep enhancing diet.
Eat an evening dinner that contains tryptophan-rich foods like white beans, cottage cheese or turkey during the day. A complex carbohydrate meal and night, for example with rice or pasta, will help with the uptake of tryptophan in the brain and induce sleep.
10. Enlist the therapeutic power of essential oils distilled from various plants.
Calming oils include rose, chamomile and marjoram. Ensure you use 100% pure aromatherapy oils, not ‘fragrant’ oils. See my friend Judy Chapman’s Aromatherapy book for more inspiration.
11. Don’t miss the wave.
Every 45 – 90 minutes your body will give an indication for sleep. If you fight the feeling, it will pass leaving you awake until the next one arrives. Ensure you catch the sleepy wave for a nourishing night.
Well wishes and sweet dreams!
This is one element of Sparkle Detox Course – a step-by-step, effective and safe, body tissue cleansing process designed by Naturopath Sally Mathrick. If you haven’t already, join Sparkle Detox. You’ll have life-time access to wholistic, doable, ‘delicious-with-benefits’ practices to keep your precious body-mind healthy, fresh and vital. JOIN NOW
This is original writing from naturopath Sally Mathrick. Please respect copyright by citing and linking back to www.sparklewell.com.au and help more people throughout the world shine like the stars they are!