We live in a world where the 9-5 isn’t the norm. With longer working hours and the fast paced life, getting a good nights sleep can be difficult. So many of us struggle with a good sleeping pattern, with so many factors playing a part. So Darling! have found some of the best tips and products to help you get that perfect night sleep, night after night.
by Elouise Bauskis, NutriCentre Nutritionist & Naturopath
- Melatonin is known as the body’s sleep hormone; therefore increasing your body’s melatonin levels can improve your sleep quality. Melatonin is secreted by your pineal gland normally only in darkness. The ‘blue light’ component of artificial light switches off the body’s production of melatonin. Invest in some yellow lenses or yellow glasses that you can wear for a couple of hours (1-3 hours) before going to bed, which will allow your pineal gland to produce melatonin. These glasses have been shown to improve sleep quality and mood by blocking blue light and simulating physiologic darkness.
- Make sure you are sleeping in a darkened room, as light will disrupt melatonin production. Seriously consider black-out curtains or blinds if your bedroom is at all light during the night.
- If you have to get up to use the toilet at night, DO NOT switch on any lights as this will flip your body into daytime mode which can prevent you being able to get off to sleep again.
- Avoid blue light a few hours before bed (for example a computer, other electrical devices such as mobile phones)
- Consider taking Asphalia or a Cherry extract, which contain naturally occurring melatonin
- Establish and maintain a regular sleep and wake cycle – which includes weekends – which will balance your circadian rhythm, which will distinguish night time from day time
- Establish and maintain a regular and relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book for a while, having a cup of soothing herbal tea, such as chamomile or passionflower
- Avoid stimulating activities before bedtime, such as work, watching the news, or TV, using a computer or playing computer games
- Have a bath before bedtime and add 5 drops of lavender essential oil which has a relaxing and mildly tranquilising effect
- Dab some lavender essential oil on you temples, forehead and-or pillow before bedtime to help calm and relax
- Keep the bedroom just for sleep and love-making
- Establish the mood of the room, making it a calm and relaxing environment, this includes the colour of the walls, bed linen and décor, avoiding very bright, stimulating colours.
- Keep work out of the bedroom, as well as mobile phones, computers, TV etc
- If it causes you anxiety to look at or hear the clock, then move it out of view
- Avoid caffeine 6-8 hours before going to bed
- Avoid alcohol – most of us think that alcohol is a sedative, but the reality is it actually disrupts sleep and causes night time awakening
- Have a snack before bed that is high tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is used to make serotonin (which aside from making you happier, will also help you sleep better). Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, dairy products (the ‘old-school’ glass of hot milk before bed), bananas, oats and fish. You could also take it as a supplement
- Cortisol is the primary stress-response hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is highly energising and stimulating. Cortisol is meant to be highest in the morning and lowest between 12 and 4 am. If your cortisol levels are high in the evening (say due to excess stress), you may have a ‘second wind’ in the evening.
- The herb Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that tonifies and strengthens the adrenals, helping to reduce cortisol levels whilst supporting adrenal function.
- Support the adrenals with B vitamins, vitamin C and other adaptogenic herbs such as Siberian ginseng, Ashwagandha
- See a practitioner to have your cortisol levels tested and assessed
Relaxing Nutrients & Herbs
- Magnesium is ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ as it relaxes muscles and nerves. Many of us are deficient in magnesium. Have a good quality magnesium supplement before bed, or consider magnesium oil which you spray onto the skin. Try Synergistic Magnesium by Quest Vitamins, nutricentre.com
- Valerian, Passionflower and Chamomile are relaxing and sedating herbs which can be used both throughout the day, into the evening and even during the night (if you wake) to help bring on sleep. A good quality tincture or capsule would be best and much more powerful than a tea.
Base Formula’s Consultant Aromatherapist Joannah Metcalfe, shares her recommendations on sleep inducing essential oils blends. Essential oils can be extremely effective in promoting calm, relaxation and helping you sleep! Here are a selection of different ways in which you can use them:-
- Soothing aromatherapy bath: Mix 15ml of fragrance free bath base (or full fat milk) with 4 drops each of Lavender and Bergamot essential oil and 2 drops each of Neroli and Roman Chamomile. Add to your bath once the water has run. Do not have the water too hot as this can be over-stimulating before bed.
- Sleep inducing massage blend: Mix 30ml of base oil with 2 drops of Neroli and 5 drops each of Lavender, Sweet Marjoram and Bergamot.
- Calming pulse point oil: Mix 15ml base oil with 3 drops each of Lavender and Sweet Marjoram and 2 drops each of Roman Chamomile and Neroli. Store in a rollerball bottle and apply to pulse point as required.
- Bedroom fragrance: An hour before bed vapourise the following essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser or oil burner: 6 drops of Lavender with 2 drops each of Neroli and Roman Chamomile
- You can also place 5 drops of Lavender on a tissue and pop this inside your pillowcase directly before going to sleep
Bodyclock Starter 30
The ideal introduction to waking with light. Bodyclock is the refreshing way to wake up. It’s effective for healthy sleep and energy at work, and a useful complement to a lightbox in treating SAD.
Helps to regulate your sleep and wake pattern so you have a better night’s sleep. The sunset simulator stimulates the onset of melatonin at bedtime and helps you to unwind while the dawn simulator wakes you gently with natural light. To learn more about lumie light therapy, visit their information page
Puressentiel products use nature’s natural essential oils which soothe, relax and calm you, whether you want to de-stress during the day, or wind down to ready yourself to sleep at night. They contain no dyes, preservatives or synthetic perfumes.
The Rest & Relax Air Spray contains twelve 100% natural, essential oils, proven for their benefits in helping to relax and rest, soothing everyday stress and helping our body systems unwind and prepare for sleep. It works gradually and has no additive effect such as sleeping pills. The product is also ideal for any activities involving relaxation such as yoga or meditation. The wonderful aromatherapeutic effect will calm the most frantic and frenetic minds