Sleeping well……

….for most people optimal sleep is sometheing we all strive for and rarely achieve. Sleeping well, waking feeling refreshed, full of energy, able to concentrate and function to most of us may feels unatainable.

Optimal sleep, going into a deep restorative sleep, sleeping for the right amount of time is important for mental health. Poor sleep can contribute to low mood, anxiety levels, stress, irritability and excerabate other mental health conditions. During deep sleep our bodies nervous system responsibile for rest and repair helps release immune boosting hormones, lowers stress hormones, lowers blood presure and heart rate all important for a wide range of physical health conditions.

How can we achieve better sleep? Following a good sleep hygiene routine is a good starting point. Taking a few minutes each day to be mindful and consciously aware of what you do in the hours before you go to bed may transform your sleep. Ideally reducing technology one or more hours before bed, switching to reading, listening to music or gentle exercise like pilates, yoga or mindfulness and meditation. These help to change brain wave activity helping you drift off to sleep and go into a deeper sleep. Reducing artificial lights, opting for the dimmer switch or lamp helps the body know that it is time to release the sleepy hormone melatonin.

How we feel and what we are thinking about affect our sleep. Talking to friends and family or a therapist about worries that may affect sleep are important. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help if you feel your anxiety increases at night time. Feeling safe at night to go to sleep is important. I sleep much better with a lock on my door! Being comfortable and not being to hold or too cold all affect sleep. I definately need a hot water bottle! Scents in your bedroom may help you relax and sleep well such as lavendar as a roll on, bedroom spray or under your pillow. Chamomile and vanilla are also good alternatives.

What you eat and drink through the afternoon and evening can affect you sleep. Ideally avoid caffiene after mid-day switching to decaffinated or herbal drinks. Keeping refined sugars to a minimum through the day is important as both a high sugar diet and alcohol impair sleep. Along with caffiene they may all contribute to you not drifting off or waking up in the middle of the night. An amazing addition to an evening routine is a cup of tumeric and cinnamon hot milk! Much cheaper than horlicks, without the sugar of hot chocolate. Tumeric and cinnamon have many powerful affects one of which is assiting with sleep and reducing anxiety.

Tumeric and cinnamon milk;

A cup of milk (oat, almond, soya or normal milk)

A teaspooon of tumeric

A teaspoon of cinnamon

A teaspoon of honey

Blend if possible or whisk briskly and then heat and enjoy!

Taking a few minutes to notice what you do before bed may have a big impact on the way you sleep and the way you feel.

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