Beauty sleep, the importance of which we are tirelessly reminded of when we look like we could use it! As our well meaning mums and best friends point out how exhausted we are looking, that pang of irritation arises because as much as a date with our duvet sounds alluring, when we get there we find ourselves lying in a bed of broken promises without even a hint of the illusive REM, I mean, does it even exist?
I will keep the beautifying benefits of sleep brief because no doubt you are acutely aware of them through experiencing their opposite! But, just in case you are stressing about your body not behaving or feeling more anxious or heavy than usual, regardless of what you are thinking and eating, I will calm your fears a little.
Sleep really does regulate our entire system, it allows for healing, restoration, balancing and cleansing. It resets your body everyday, free from the stresses and strains of the previous day to avoid accumulation, on all levels. Without enough sleep you will undoubtedly feel heavy, you will crave sugary foods, find your appetite challenging to address in a healthy way, your skin will not be as radiant as it naturally could be, you may feel more sensitive, anxious and irritated, it could even affect your hormones creating more challenging periods. Sleep literally restores lightness and peace throughout your entire body whilst boosting your immune system. There really is beauty to be found in sleep, so, if you are going through sleepless nights here are some of my favourite remedies and tips –
Encouraging sleep is all about calming mind and body, for some of us Bach Flower remedies, a herbal tea or a few dietary changes will work wonders. However, sometimes sleeplessness can be a hormone issue, usually a lack of progesterone, so if you feel this could be you then please consult your health care practitioner.
- Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine can actually have a prolonged effect on our body, meaning a mid afternoon coffee which seems harmless enough can wreak havoc when it comes to bedtime. Keep all caffeine to the morning if possible.
- Sugar should be at a minimum in your diet anyway but certainly be extra conservative after lunch, this includes fruit, please limit fruit in the afternoon and do not eat fruit at night!
- I love Rescue Remedies Night time drops, they are totally natural and I find them very relaxing. I know many clients who have had positive benefits from other Bach Flower remedies too so these are worth trying.
- Valerian Tea I find more helpful than Chamomile, in fact, Chamomile does not help me sleep at all. If it does for you then great, but if not try Valerian Tea or drops.
- Your evening meal should be warm, comforting and calming foods. Think root vegetables, soups, sautéed vegetables, lentil dals and stews. All of these foods do not over stimulate your system and their warm grounding element helps your body to relax. Avoid raw foods like salads, excessively spicy foods or rich foods at night.
- Minerals are essential for proper sleep, in fact issues sleeping could indicate a deficiency, specifically in calcium and magnesium. Both of these relax the body and promote better sleep. Try to include more mineral rich foods in your diet like dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, avocado, banana, nuts, beans and lentils. Cacao is extremely rich in magnesium but it can be stimulating if you are sensitive so enjoy no later than the afternoon.
- B vitamins are also vital, specifically B6 and B12 as they help to prevent insomnia. Try eating sunflower seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, nutritional yeast, quinoa, oats, lentils and nuts.
- Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to regulate and induce sleep and is essential for maintaining a proper sleep cycle. The highest sources are meats like turkey and dairy although it is also found in nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Read in bed rather than watching TV or scrolling down FB. Reading gets me every time but if I am watching TV or playing with my phone sleeping feels impossible as my mind is so easily stimulated.
- It is important to create an environment conducive to rest and relaxation, where you can feel safe and protected so make sure your bedroom has comforting elements like dim lights, cosy blankets and is a quiet place where you really do feel safe.
- Set an intention. The more we obsess about not sleeping the worse the problem is going to get. Instead of fighting it go with it, stop proclaiming to yourself that you cant sleep and instead say things to yourself like ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I rested well this evening and wouldn’t it be nice to wake up in the morning feeling good and ready for the day.’ Your mind is incredibly powerful, it creates your internal environment and ultimately determines your experience, so guide your mind by setting a positive intention for sleep.