We have natural sleep and awake patterns, knows as Circadian Rhythms; which refer to fluctuations in body temperature, hormone levels, energy levels and sleep. These occur over a 24-hour period, driven by the brain’s biological “clock.” These natural rhythms from day to night allow us to have an abundance of energy throughout the day but also encourages us to wind down and switch off at night in order to have 6-8hrs of restful and restorative sleep. These internal 24 hour rhythms in physiology and behaviour are synchronized to the external physical environment and social/work schedules. Therefore due to the long, busy and often stressful lives we lead, this can knock us out of these natural sleep and awake patterns. Some strategies I find helpful to bring your body back in to balance and reset your internal ‘clock’ once and for all are as follows:
Set an Evening Routine
Set a bedtime and stick to it. By providing your body with a consistent bed time you can re-set learned behaviours, by repeatedly telling the body and mind it’s time to unwind and switch off. By doing so you get your mind and body into a regular sleep pattern.
Go to sleep when you're tired, there is no benefit to you falling asleep on the couch at 8pm for an hour but not actually getting into bed until midnight. Set a bedtime and try your best to stick to it ideally from Sunday until Thursday.
Reduce Stimulants: Caffeine & Sugar
When we wake up ‘tired’ we often rely on using stimulants such as coffee, tea & sweet treats throughout the day to keep your energy levels stable. In the short term these seem like a good choice however in the long run they can leave us feeling ‘wired and tired’ and overstimulated too late in the evening – therefore affecting our quality of sleep. Preferably no caffeinated drinks after lunch and instead opt for a variety of herbal teas which can aid sleep.
Top Tip: Some great non-caffeinated, night-time teas to help us unwind at the end of a long day and encourage better sleep include: Clipper Sleep Easy Tea, Pukka Relax Tea & Yogi Bedtime Tea.
In Ireland we’re fond of a few sweet treats with a cup of tea watching the soaps in the evening. However for many of us this combination of caffeine and sugar too late can be damaging for our sleep patterns. It can cause us to wake in the middle of the night and then we can find it hard to get back to sleep. This therefore leading to disruptive sleep patterns.
Try to keep sweet treats to a minimum in the evening time and leave approx. 3 hours between your dinner and when you aim to get to bed.
Nervine herbs are a group of herbal helpers that have become increasingly important to help us cope with stress and tension. These herbs can play a key role in promoting restful sleep, by calming down our often overstimulated nervous system. Supporting our nervous system can reduce our stress response and allow us to switch into ‘rest and repose’. This will optimize our chances of a good night sleep.
Healthy Sleep Supplementation Recommendations:
New Nordic Melissa Dream may help to encourage natural sleep. This is because of its combination of lemon balm, camomile, magnesium and B vitamins. Lemon balm helps to encourage healthy sleep and relaxation levels. B vitamins are key in maintaining optimal nervous system function. Camomile aids relaxation and the inclusion of magnesium in the formula helps to control muscle contractions during the night.
L-Theanine is an amino acid which comes almost exclusively from green tea, where it is unsurprisingly responsible for teas calming and relaxing effect. This L-Theanine extract acts directly on the brain to induce a sense of calm, which can help you to de-stress. Lemon balm offers similar benefits in that it can induce a sense of calm in the user, reducing stress and anxiety. It can also prove useful to people who are having troubles sleeping. It can reduce the time taken to get to sleep and increase the quality of sleep.
Irish Botanica Peace & Calm Oral Liquid can aid in reducing the levels of anxiety a person feels and can also aid sleep. This product is a traditional herbal medicinal product. Using this product can reduce the level of anxiety one feels and can help one to sleep better.
* All of the products mentioned in the above article are only guideline suggestions. Anybody taking prescribed medication should always consult their GP or Pharmacist to identify any contraindications.
*For more information regarding supplementation feel free to call in to any of our 7 stores and speak with our highly qualified staff.