A good nights sleep is vital for our wellbeing, yet in our busy world insomnia or sleeplessness are becoming more prevalent.
Back in the 1950’s the average night’s sleep was eight hours now the average is 6.5 hours. Personally, unless I’ve had eight hours, I don’t feel great the next day! Teenagers are chronically sleep deprived and need an average of 9 hours, which few of them get. So as a parent of two teenagers, I let them catch up on their sleep at the weekend.
Lack of sleep causes many problems such as weight gain – the hunger hormone Ghrelin is released which makes us want to eat more. Sleep deprivation causes poor memory, poor creativity and poor judgement – therefore we’re not working at our optimum if we’re lacking sleep. During the day when we’re tired we tend to reach for stimulants such as coffee and nicotine, when it’s time to sleep the blood stream is overloaded with chemicals which keep us awake. Have you ever noticed that sleep becomes disturbed after a glass or two of wine? Alcohol is a sedative however it doesn’t provide you with a good sleep as the chemicals which are released into the body cause us to toss and turn and we often feel hot and sweaty. Not to mention the heart palpitations!
Tired people are stressed, they can’t relax and it all becomes a vicious circle. Stress can cause glucose to be released into the body which some people become intolerant to and get diabetes. Stress also affects the Cardio Vascular System as it raises blood pressure.
So what can we do to induce a good nights sleep? An hour before going to bed ensure your bedroom is cool and dark – even a bathroom light can be a stimulant, so go to the bathroom in the dark, or well before bedtime.
No Caffeine after lunch. Turn off your mobile phone, computer and any other devices in the bedroom. Try a drop of Lavender on your pillow (make sure it’s only 1 drop as Lavender can be stimulating if used in higher quantities). Try taking a relaxing bath with 1 drop of Lavender and 1 drop of Chamomile. Drink Chamomile tea after dinner instead of alcohol, tea or coffee. Relaxing music can often help. I use an APP called Omvana with music and relaxing techniques. Concentrate on your breathing – follow the breath in through the nose and out through the nose and relax each part of your body.