As a chronic insomniac, the Sleep Council’s recommendation of 7-8 hours sleep per night is but a pipe dream for me.  Sleep is the mysterious shift in consciousness that our bodies require every day, and is vital for our health and wellbeing.  Not only do we function less well when we don’t get enough quality sleep, but it can lead to long-term health problems such as…

  • high blood pressure

  • irregular heartbeat

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • diabetes

and has even been linked to the development of Alzheimers.  As well as long-term health problems, there are the everyday issues that accompany the constant tiredness that poor sleep induces, such as…

  • irritability and bad mood

  • loss of concentration and poor memory

  • poor coordination

  • loss or increase in appetite

  • adrenal fatigue

Yup, tick to all of the above :-0

The everyday pressures of life in general, such as work, finances, family commitments and the need to be electronically accessible at all times, create an environment that is not conducive with a good nights sleep.  As a consequence, we make less time for sleep as we get older, and also become less efficient sleepers – the ageing process means our bodies fall into deep sleep less naturally, and we’re more easily woken by internal or external stimuli. This is why middle-aged people may experience insomnia for the first time in their life.

So what can we do to ensure that we enjoy quality sleep and deal with any sleep problems?  Well you could try some some of these gems from the Sleep Council

http://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/The-Good-Night-Guide.pdf

or you might like to try this breathing technique from Dr Andrew Weil…

I’ve tried pretty much every trick in the book to get some decent shuteye, including avoiding blue light technology (mobile phones/i-pads) and dark chocolate 2 hours before bedtime, and have even found myself avoiding going to bed altogether, knowing my sleep will be of very poor quality, as I wake every few hours.

However, when I starting seeing my nutritional therapist, she encouraged me to get into bed at a reasonable time (10pm), and swap my beloved dark chocolate for almonds and kiwis, as almonds contain melatonin (the hormone that anticipates the onset of darkness and makes you sleepy), and kiwis contain serotonin (the wellbeing hormone).  Both are full of antioxidants and also contain tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps with sleep. I tried this for a few nights, and while there was a marginal improvement, I still wasn’t getting nearly enough quality sleep.  Whilst I love the idea of natural and nutritional remedies to assist with such issues, I’m thinking a sledgehammer may be a more effective option!

Meanwhile, whilst browsing the shelves of Holland and Barrett I found a natural sleep aid called Patch-It Sleep, which I review in another post, but in order to ensure that youexperience a good sleep it’s essential that you follow good lifestyle habits.  Try to eliminate the factors that are causing you disturbed sleep; making sure that your bedroom is the right environment, with the appropriate lighting, and that you avoid foods and drinks that can hinder sleep.

If you still have sleep issues, it may be worth visiting your GP for a professional assessment and advice.

Sweet dreams!

x

I’ll be writing about my experience with adrenal fatigue and how this can affect your wellbeing in a future post.