Natural Alternatives for Good Sleep
Getting good quality sleep is crucial to our overall well-being. A good nights sleep can help balance blood sugar, improve energy levels, support our nervous system, support our immune system and so much more. There have actually been numerous studies performed to show that a good sleep helps support the immune system by increasing T-cells, which are a type of immune cell that fight against viruses and other pathogens. This time of year, its safe to say that we would all benefit from good quality sleep!
Many factors in our lives can affect our sleep like if you're on shift work, have small children, experiencing immense stress or anxiety, too much blue light before bed, caffeine and sugar too late in the day, alcohol too close to bed and so on. Some of these factors are out of our control of course, but it's helpful to meet yourself where you're at and start with the aspects you can control to try and improve your sleep.
A few helpful tips that can make a big impact on your sleep quality:
Balancing Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is a cycle that your body follows within a 24 hour period in response to lightness and darkness and its vital to your overall health. This cycle actually regulates the production of different hormones within this period.
If managing your circadian rhythm is within your control, adding these tricks into your day may help reset your clock:
- Create a bedtime routine ( I share mine here )
- Get red light in your eyes at sunrise (not through a window and without sunglasses)
- Get afternoon/evening light in your eyes (not through a window and without sunglasses)
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed
- Exercise during the day
- Avoid bright lights and blue lights in the evening (use dimmers in your home, read before bed with a red light lamp)
Stress Reduction Tools
As part of your bedtime routine, it can be helpful to add in a meditation practice to help your mind unwind from the day and get ready to drift off to sleep. I use the Open App, and have found this practice very helpful.
Make Sure You're Getting Enough Magnesium
Magnesium is required for over 300 different reactions inside the body, and unfortunately most of us are deficient in this important mineral. Magnesium helps support our metabolism, our immune system, and is important for managing stress and getting good quality sleep.
A good quality magnesium supplement can go along way in supporting your healthy sleep routine. I currently take the liposomol magnesium from Cymbiotika. Or you can add epsom salts into a hot bath at night.
Plus, including foods rich in magnesium into your diet like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans avocados
Support Sleep with Herbs
Ashwagandha- A number of small studies have shown that ashwagandha may be beneficial for sleep thanks to its triethylene glycol content which is the compound responsible for inducing sleep. Not to mention it's ability to help our bodies adapt to stressors.
Passion Flower - Animal studies have shown passion flower's ability to have a positive affect on sleep patterns, reduce the time it took to fall asleep and increase the duration of sleep.
Lavender - With its relaxing, calming and uplifting effects, lavender has been long used to help reduce stress and improve sleep.
Chamomile - Numerous studies have shown that chamomile has the ability to improve sleep quality and calm the nervous system. Making it a great sleep aid for both adults and kids.
Lemon Balm - Rich in volatile oils that help calm the nervous & digestive system, and functions as a sedative which is helpful for insomnia and sleep for both adults and kids.
Wishing you a peaceful nights sleep zzzzzzz