Nearly one in three people have trouble sleeping at some point in their lives, but it is not often a priority until you are desperate. In terms of an effective health strategy, it is the one thing where you can lie down, do nothing, and get better. Sleep is more essential than food.
Did you know that your brain goes on a rinse cycle overnight, to clear away the junk and help you think more clearly the next day? Miss three nights sleep and not only are you miserable and irritable – you can start hallucinating. The over sixty-five age group consume forty percent of the sleeping pills, and eighty percent of people with depression / anxiety have trouble sleeping. However, tablets (and alcohol) inhibit the vital dreaming and deep sleep, so even if you sleep longer, you may not wake refreshed.
Are there natural ways to improve your sleep? Yes. Start with a morning walk! Daylight first thing sets your body clock to rights. Your brain needs daylight through your eyeballs, so avoid glasses if you can, and get out there. In the evening, avoid strenuous exercise; keep away from blue-light-emitting screens, depressing news and exciting thrillers. Relax with soft light and sweet music. Warm coloured lamps, firelight and even candles (safely) are soothing.
If you find yourself falling asleep on the sofa, treat yourself to a really early night with a good book. If you have a loving partner, even better. Lovemaking can be a wonderful prelude to a satisfying night’s sleep.
Enjoy caffeinated drinks in the morning, but even cocoa after 2pm is a problem if you can’t sleep.
Finish eating at least three hours before bedtime. Poultry, dairy and nuts contain tryptophan, that aids sleep.
Magnesium is “Nature’s tranquilliser”, and most sleepless, anxious and depressed people are low in magnesium. It helps particularly if you struggle to go back to sleep after waking in the night. Leafy greens, nuts and beans are good sources.
Maybe enjoy a chamomile tea, for a soothing mugful. Ashwagandha somnifera, an Indian medicinal tea, is wonderful at calming agitation. Try to keep to a gentle, regular evening routine.
A warm, magnesium salt bath can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
Writing things down can get worries off your mind while breathing exercises and meditation can calm your thoughts, helping you relax into the land of Nod.