By Courtenay Turner
For those of us who suffer from sleeplessness, finding a sleep remedy that is both effective and natural can be just as hard as getting some shut-eye itself.
While fretful, disrupted or inadequate sleep might seem all too common these days, it’s certainly not something to dismiss. A 2016 report published showed that sleeping less than six or seven hours a night may increase a person’s risk of chronic health issues. Sleep deprivation may also negatively impact the body’s metabolism and may leave the skin looking dull and lacklustre. In short, sleeplessness is something that needs to be overcome for the sake of your inner and outer health!
While you wouldn’t necessarily know it, your body does incredible things while you snooze, and it’s far more active than most of us realise. Every night, a process of restoration and repair takes place—your breathing slows, blood flows to the muscles and cellular repair and regeneration begins. This is great news for our skin – as sleep helps combat the effects of stress and support skin integrity. So the importance of getting your ‘beauty sleep’ is certainly no myth!
As expected though, beauty sleep is more than skin deep. Sleeping is also thought to suppress ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and stimulate leptin, which controls appetite. What’s more, your gut benefits from the overnight ‘fast’ that comes with a restful night of sleep—extended periods ‘sans food’ allow your body to rest from the energy-intensive process that is digestion!
Enjoy the deep and restorative sleep that your body deserves with the help of these three totally natural sleep remedies...
Try essential oils
As far as herbal sleep remedies go, you can’t get much more herbal than essential oils. Oils like bergamot and lavender are both known for their relaxing properties. Diffuse them, pop a few drops in a warm bath, or rub them directly onto your wrists and the bottoms of your feet. There is no sebum (the oily barrier that protects the skin) on these two parts of the body, which makes it easier for the oils to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Essentials oils don’t work for everyone, but in combination with other powerful natural remedies, they can be a beautiful addition to your nighttime routine.
Eat for sleep
Yes, what you eat absolutely impacts upon the quality of your sleep! What you nibble on – both before bed and throughout the day – can affect your circadian rhythm, also known as your body clock. Evidence suggests that consuming foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan—such as sweet potato, poultry and seafood—may aid sleep as tryptophan is able to be converted to melatonin, the hormone linked to our sleep and wake cycle. Avoid large doses of caffeine after midday, as well as heavy meals and sugar before bed. If gnawing hunger is keeping you awake, try having as banana, some yoghurt, a handful of cashews, some cherries or some warm nut milk.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS OR MEDITATION
You’re likely familiar with these two concepts; both buzzwords in the wellness world, and both invaluable natural sleep aids that promote good sleep hygiene. Meditation, deep-belly breathing and mindfulness practices all help to ‘switch on’ the parasympathetic nervous system, the division of the nervous system that is responsible for resting and digesting. Of course, you can't command your body into action, you can only encourage this shift to take place by convincing your body that there's no danger about, whether real or perceived. The best way to do this? Slow, steady, diaphragmatic breaths. And ditch your device, it’s almost impossible to practice mindfulness when you’ve got the world at your fingertips!
Have you got a natural sleep remedy that you swear by? Let us know in the comments below.