Guest Blog by the very special Jo Wilson, Sydney-based Naturopath. For online consultations with Jo, please email email@example.com.
Hi, I am a Sydney naturopath, a lecturer and mentor to students and have a passion for all things health. I see many people who struggle with sleep, getting there and staying there. I see how their life is disrupted by not getting enough Zeds!!
So why do we need sleep, not only is it when we do all our physical and mental repairs, we get the energy we need to continue our daily activities and do it with a smile on our face? There are different phases in sleep and we need to get into a deep sleep on order to benefit. Without this, we can experience mental fogginess, being forgetful, anxiety, headaches, difficulty managing our mood and we can just get plain snappy to those we love. Getting through the day can be a chore and we just feel awful.
Without enough sleep we are at risk of our immune system become problematic, our cardiovascular system being out of whack and our blood sugar levels fluctuating more than we want. We can see that getting enough sleep is essential for good health.
How do we do this?
In the Bedroom:
- Keep the light to warm yellow lights. Blue light that emit from laptops, tablets and phones reduces melatonin which is an essential hormone that regulates sleep.
- Put your phone on flight mode if you want to use it as a clock.
- Make sure there is enough fresh air but no drafts.
- Keep this room quiet and dark to help you get to sleep and stay there.
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.
- Invest in good linen for your bed. Comfortable sheets are a must.
- Keep your bedtime to around the same time every night and make sure that it gives you enough sleep time. If you get up at six am,, plan for sleep between nine thirty and ten the night before.
- The last hour should be wind down time, turn off screens, have a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint, a cup of warm milk or a small handful of pumpkin seeds. This will make sure you have all the things needed for sleep such as essential fatty acids, protein and a relaxing drink.
- You could take a warm shower or bath and put a few drops of lavender essential oil on a face washer, pop it at your feet in the shower or let it float in the bath and let the smell do the rest. You could also burn a few drops of lavender essential oil in a burner in the evening.
- Turn down the lights, even using candles can induce a relaxed feeling. Take care to blow them out before you hit the hay.
- Think about doing some progressive muscle relaxation such as Yoga Nidra. This helps turn the mind off, keeps it focused on one thing and remind your muscles to relax and stay that way. Once you have mastered this, you may use it at any time. It is an old practice that keeps you on track with managing your thoughts, increasing your energy and it keeps you calm. It is an invaluable tool to have in your toolbox.
When you wake:
- If you can, sit in the morning light to start your day and breath in the sun as it rises and if it’s not there, imagine it is.
- Start the day with a glass of water and some lemon juice to rehydrate you after the many hours since your last drink.
- Caffeine can last several hours in the body and affect sleep. Remember, no caffeine after midday.
- Save alcohol to a few days only a week and stop a couple of hours before bed. Drink only 2 serves of alcohol at any time.
If you think you have a problem with sleep see a qualified health professional for help and advice. As a naturopath, I use herbs, supplements, lifestyle and assessment to help you restore a refreshing sleep.
To contact Jo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org - Jo gives online consultations for clients all around the world.