Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills. 

Please note that these natural remedies cannot cure insomnia and if you are suffering from prolonged periods of sleeplessness you should contact your doctor.

Alternative therapies cover a wide variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to meditation and lifestyle changes. Some alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided meditation, yoga, hypnosis, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others.

Valerian Root

Some studies have suggested that the root of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) may help with sleep. Valerian root can sometimes interfere with some medications. It also has side effects and is not safe in small children or during pregnancy. Before taking this supplement check with your doctor.

Lavender

Lavender is a calming herb that is a natural relaxant. According to a study at Southampton University, lavender can increase your sleep quality by 20%. In this study of 10 people, 5 were exposed to lavender during sleep and the other people were exposed to a placebo. The 5 people exposed to lavender reported a 20% overall better sleep experience1.

Accupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at specific acupuncture points in the body. The results of recent studies have shown acupuncture improved sleep quality in people with insomnia2.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has been used as a sleep aid for thousands of years. It is a natural relaxant, like lavendar. This can help your mind to relax and unwind for bed.

Meditation

Meditation can be an effective way to treat insomnia. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the value of meditation in treating insomnia. There are many types of meditation to choose from. Learn more about meditation for sleep in our article here.

Exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to help improve sleep. However, most experts advise exercising at least three to four hours before bedtime to avoid interference with sleep.

A Noise Machine

Listening to soothing background sounds can help cover up manmade sounds like voices or traffic. Noise machines offer a variety of sounds from white noise to sounds from nature.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills.  Please note that these natural remedies cannot...

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

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How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene? It’s often used to refer to your nighttime habits and whether you practice good or bad sleep hygiene can have an effect on your sleep pattern. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the answer often begins with improving this, but how do you practice good sleep hygiene?

What is sleep hygiene?

Our sleep behaviours and patterns are referred to as our sleep hygiene, similar to body hygiene. If you are often pulling all-nighters, or sleeping in on the weekends so you can “make up” for lost sleep this is an example of poor sleep hygiene. If you follow a regular sleep schedule and avoid caffeine late at night this is an example of good sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene education is an essential part of the cognitive-behavioural therapy used to treat insomnia.

Why is sleep hygiene important?

Sleep hygiene is important to ensure you enjoy a restful sleep. Enjoying good sleep on a regular basis is critical to maintaining good mental, emotional, and physical health. Making sure you get enough quality sleep helps you stay focused during the day, regulates your mood, and helps you function on a daily basis.

What’s bad sleep hygiene?

If you’re waking up unrested each morning, wake frequently during the night, feel tired during the day or have trouble falling asleep at night, there’s a very good chance that you have bad sleep hygiene that’s messing with your sleep1.

What’s good sleep hygiene?

The four most important elements of good sleep hygiene are;

  1. Temperature – your bedroom shouldn’t be too hot nor too cold
  2. Darkness – the darker, the better
  3. Quiet – peace perfect peace makes the ideal sleeping environment
  4. Comfort – you need to have a comfortable place to lie down and stretch out

Top 10 tips to practice good sleep hygiene

  1. Say no thank you to caffeine later in the day & in the evening time.
  2. Steer clear of alcohol at night time as this is known to disturb sleep.
  3. Avoid heavy meals late at night, midnight feasts will not help you sleep.
  4. Stick to a regular routine to go to bed and get up.
  5. Use thick curtains, blinds or an eye mask to stop you being woken up by light.
  6. Try earplugs if noise is disturbing your slumber.
  7. Take a warm bath or shower an hour before you go to bed.
  8. Listen to calming music or read a book before bed.
  9. Avoid watching TV or using mobile devices in the bedroom.
  10. Exercise several hours before bedtime.
If your sleep problems are affecting your daily life, it’s time to see your GP. You could take the results of this test to discuss with your GP or, even better, keep a sleep diary for two weeks before you go2.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Natural remedies for insomnia can help restore your sleep schedule without the intervention of medication. There are many natural alternatives that can help aid sleep without the nasty side effects of sleeping pills.  Please note that these natural remedies cannot...

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene? It's often used to refer to your nighttime habits and whether you practice good or bad sleep hygiene can have an effect on your sleep pattern. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the answer often begins with...

How Can I Get Rid Of My Insomnia?

When you suffer from insomnia it can affect every aspect of your life. It can be hard to imagine how you will overcome this condition and finally get some sleep but be reassured to know that insomnia can be overcome,  but how can you get rid of...

Meditation to Help You Sleep

Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and when we lose out on sleep it can have lasting effects on our physical and mental health. When you are finding it hard to sleep due to outside influences such as stress, illness or chronic pain you can use...

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

The Best Sleep Apps To Help You Drift Off

There is so much going on now in the modern world it’s hard to catch your breath. You eat right, exercise and watch your waistline but do you look after your sleep? In this article we cover the best sleep apps out there at the moment.

Apps that monitor rest

These apps can break down your daily night’s rest into several sleep cycles. They can help you track your sleep cycles to make sure you’re getting the best sleep you can, and wak up every morning refreshed.

1. Sleep Cycle

Image: iMore

Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep patterns using your microphone. It wakes you in the lightest phase of sleep so you’re not groggy. You set a window during which to be woken (for example, between 7 and 7:30 a.m.) and it figures the best time to raise you from your slumber. It even lets you tap your phone twice to snooze.

2. Sleep Time

Sleep Time is available on both Android and iOS. It tracks your sleep quality without requiring an Apple Watch or Fitbit.

All you need to do to record your sleep with Sleep Time is place your smartphone on your bed’s mattress while you sleep. The app will use your device’s sensors to monitor your movement during sleep. It presents the data in an easy to read chart which can be used to compare your sleep quality over weekly, monthly, or even yearly periods.

Sleep Time also comes with an alarm clock feature to wake you up when you’re in a light sleep cycle.

3. Pillow

Image: Pillow

Pillow is a sleep tracking app but it is only compatible with Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad. Users can link the apps up to their Apple Watch or another wearable, to keep track of their heart rate during sleep.

The app monitors your movements and sounds while you sleep, and uses the information to keep a detailed history of how well you’ve slept, and when is the best time to wake you.

It will give you a full overview of how you’ve slept, along with mood tracking, sleep notes, audio recordings and heart rate analysis.

Apps for relaxation

Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to help people who struggle with insomnia. The apps below focus on meditation through various techniques like music, nature sounds, and voice commands. All are aimed to help you reach the state of relaxation you need to go to bed.

1. Pzizz

Image: Pzizz

Pzizz is available on both iOS and Android. This sleep app places an emphasis on getting to sleep quickly and easily. The app uses a combination of sound effects, music, and spoken word to help lull you to sleep. Users can specify if they’re ready for a long sleep session or a quick power nap. So you can catnap guilt free!

2. Headspace: Meditation

Image: Brian De Los Santos/Mashable

The Headspace: Meditation app helps you to learn meditation based on your individual goals. It’ll send you push notifications reminding you to meditate throughout the day. Each session only takes a few minutes so it can be fitted around a busy schedule.

3. White Noise

The White Noise app allows you to relax to a variety of noise. Not only does this app have white noise, but it also has pink noise, brown noise (low-frequency sound masking) and many more soothing sounds.

Plus, it gives you great flexibility to create your own soundscape, mixing up to five sounds at once. Among the 40 sounds are a vacuum cleaner, a rainstorm, an air condition, a babbling brook and many more.

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Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Tracking

Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking comes in many shapes and forms but how do you track your sleep? From DIY wearables and smartphone apps to the old fashioned way of paper and pen. Below we’ll discuss all these methods and the importance of tracking your sleep.

Why should you track your sleep?

Sleep is an important factor for your health. It keeps your immune system balanced, regulates your moods and helps your body to rest and repair. Getting your forty winks is just as important as eating well, exercising and making healthy lifestyle choices. So it’s important to keep an eye on how you are sleeping and now with modern technology this is open to everyone.

Tracking your sleep helps you ensure you’re getting enough sleep. If you think you have a sleep disorder though, like sleep apnea, insomnia, or something else, sleep tracking is critical to receiving a proper diagnosis.

Paying attention to your sleep is the first step to getting better sleep. 

Sleep tracking wearable devices

Sleep tracking wearable devices often take the form of a small, clippable device you attach to your clothing, or a separate wristband or smartwatch. These devices track other important health facts in addition to sleep, such as your daily step total and heart rate. They provide a more holistic view of your overall health and wellness.

Fitbit

Image: Fitbit

Not only for keeping an eye on your physical fitness, the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR wristbands include automatic sleep tracking.

Automatic sleep tracking will record your sleep and then review your sleep duration in the Fitbit app. You will receive handy sleep insights and can also view the stages of sleep you are reaching each night.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch does not provide sleep tracking on its own, but many sleep tracking apps integrate with it, such as Pillow and Sleep Tracker.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a built in sleep tracker that logs your sleep. You can activate the option to record REM sleep in its settings. After a recent update in October 2018 this is set to default. To save on battery life it is no longer required to set it to monitor your heart rate to track your sleep.

Sleep Tracking Apps

Image: Pillow

Sleep tracking apps are available on your smartphone or tablet. Their convenience makes them incredibly popular as does their price and ease of use. These apps use your phone’s accelerometr to monitor your breathing and body movements while you sleep. Many also claim to be able to determine what stage of sleep you are in, so they can time your alarm to go off when you are most likely to be in a light stage of sleep (making you less drowsy).

However, sleep tracking apps rely solely on your phone’s accelerometer, and since you make similar movements during deep and light sleep, there’s no way the phone can tell what stage of sleep you’re in. Also, it’s important to note that if you share the bed with a partner or pet, their movements can interfere with your data1.

However, these devices are a useful first step in determining whether you need to see a doctor about a potential sleep problem. Apps such as Pillow, Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time. Find out more about sleep tracking apps in our article here.

The old fashioned way

If you prefer to keep things tech-free you can try a sleep diary.

For each day, note the following:

  • When you went to bed
  • When you woke up
  • Total time spent asleep
  • Any naps
  • Other information, such as exercise, diet, energy level, feelings of fatigue, or naps taken

There are many ways to monitor and track your sleep, however if you think you may have an issue with sleep get in touch with your doctor who can best advise the right route for you.

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The Best Bedtime Teas For Sleep

The Best Bedtime Teas For Sleep

A third of us will experience insomnia at some point in our lives. It’s important then to prioritise relaxation and unwinding before bed. Practising good sleep hygiene is one way of doing this, but you can also incorporate bedtime tea into the mix. In this article we look at the best bedtime teas we have found.

 

For centuries herbal teas have been used as a natural sleep aid, but which ones are still popular today?

Chamomile

This tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which may help you drift off to sleep.  Regarded as a natural relaxant chamomile works as a mild tranquilizer, relaxing the nerves and muscles.

A recent study involving postpartum women who had poor sleep quality found that those who drank chamomile tea for a two-week period reported overall better sleep quality than those who didn’t1.

Valerian Root

One of the most popular herbal sleep aids in Europe and the US, valerian root may increase sleepiness by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Small studies suggest that valerian root may improve overall sleep quality by shortening the time it takes for you to fall asleep 2.

Lavender

Best known for its relaxing scent, we wouldn’t often associate lavender with tea. Drinking lavender tea may improve sleep quality, especially for those who are suffering from insomnia or anxiety-related disorders.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm isn’t often associated with tea, it is from the mint family and is most often used in aromatherapy. This citrus-scented herb has been used for reducing stress and improving sleep since the Middle Ages.

Drinking lemon balm tea may decrease insomnia-related symptoms. A recent study showed people experienced a 42% reduction in insomnia symptoms after receiving 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days3.

Passionflower

Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, flowers and stems of the Passiflora plant. This floral tea calms the mind and also alleviates indigestion helping to ease the stomach.

Passionflower is a natural relaxant. A 2011 study found that it improves sleep quality in the short-term4.

Sleep is fundamental to good overall health. Getting enough quality sleep is important for maintaining your immune system and metabolic function, processing the day’s memories and maintaining normal body weight.

If you are finding it hard to sleep and it is interfering with your day to day life get in touch with your doctor.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

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