5 Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

,As a mother of twins, good sleep often eluded me for the first few years of their lives, what with night feeding two babies then thereafter tending to their own intermittent sleeplessness. Since then I've had bouts of broken sleep though more recently - thankfully - I have found a combination of things to aid in a restful night's sleep.

I thought it would make for a good blog post to look at 5 tips for a good night's sleep.

1. Get to sleep by 11pm Wow how simply transformative is this. It may not help universally, but I can hand on heart say that being in bed before and falling asleep by 11pm has been nothing short of guaranteeing I sleep through the night. So what does the science say on this? After studying a sample of 88,000 volunteers over a 6 year study period, UK Biobank suggests that the best time to nod off is between 10pm and 11pm. Falling asleep at this time helps to synchronise sleep with our internal body clock. Science calls this 'clock' the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) which is about the size of a grain of rice and resembles a pinecone and hosts around 20,000 neurons (who knew!) falling asleep in synch with our body clock can have the knock on effect of keeping the heart healthier long term too. Have a read of this fascinating report if you wish to delve deeper.

2. Applying my Magnificent Night Oil this is undoubtedly a relaxing nightly ritual - not only a beauty tonic for the skin, but calming on the senses. A key ingredient is sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) noted for its therapeutic qualities - proven to help improve quality of sleep and to aid in supporting unbroken sleep - the phytochemicals in which found to have some sedative hypnotic effects.  Known as the 'oil of renewal', sniffing it can help temper anxiety and nervousness.

3. Drinking a Camomile tea or Golden Milk before bed. With Chamomile, although debatable whether it helps induce sleep, it is known for its mild tranquilizing qualities. It's the antioxidant Apigenin abundant in chamomile tea that is responsible for its relaxing properties. When Apigenin (a chemical compound found in the plant extract) interacts with the GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain, then sleepiness is induced. It is also known that the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) - the hormone that increases the production of cortisol is reduced by drinking Chamomile tea. Golden Milk known as Turmeric tea/latte is not only a delicious warming drink, but is incredibly good for us and is known as a sleep aid in traditional ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric has calming properties and is said to lower anxiety levels, helping us relax. It is incredibly anti-inflammatory. When made with almond milk we have the added benefit of magnesium which helps to calm the nervous system and regulate Melatonin levels - which regulate our body's sleep and wake cycles. To make this relaxing, warming, comforting drink add 1.5 cups of almond milk (or any milk - turmeric is fat soluble so milk is needed in this recipe as without a bit of fat the curcumin found in turmeric will not be absorbed as well) to a pan with 1.5 teaspoons of ground organic turmeric, pinch of black pepper (which makes the healing properties of turmeric - curcumin more available to the body), add a pinch of cinnamon if desired and 2 teaspoons of raw honey. Warm through on a medium heat, when everything is mixed together and warmed through drink and prepare to feel relaxed!

4. Therapy Having undergone 6 months (and counting) of integrative therapy I now am far better equip at self soothing and leaving the day at the door. It helps as well that I have a job which affords me that and which enables me to still tend to Skin Elixir outside of the working day. This has given me some peace of mind. Bringing up kids solo wears heavy on the mind sometimes, so it's been a relief to learn tools in how to be more calm and present. Some may say therapy is a luxury, but "to know thyself' I think it's an absolute must. Personal choice.

 5. Meditation  - meditation before sleep lowers the heart rate, clears the mind and allows the mind to eliminate any unnecessary thoughts. It helps create the inner conditions necessary for quality sleep. When we settle the mind, we rest the body. The free app Insight Timer has some great meditations and if you're into sound waves as a calming therapy, then this Hypno Daddy 3Hz delta waves for deep sleep is magical, here's a link.

Go well friends and here's to a peaceful night sleep for us all. 


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