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5 tips for a more restorative nights' sleep

Quality sleep plays such a pivotal role in our health and wellbeing yet it seems these days fewer and fewer people are getting a good nights’ rest. We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping (!) so we want to ensure that our sleep is restorative and rejuvenating. If you don’t wake feeling refreshed from your sleep, there is work that can be done to improve it. Here are a few tips you can implement quickly to optimise your sleep.

1.       View morning sunlight and begin the day with movement

As soon as you can after waking in the morning, head outside and view the sky and sun as it rises. This morning sunlight signals to the cells in your body that the day has begun and thus starts your circadian clock so that by the end of your day, you’re ready for sleep. Bonus points if you can get out into nature for some movement and breathe deeply. Exercise is essential for a good nights’ sleep!

2.       Keep stimulants to the first half of your day

You’re probably aware that avoiding caffeine containing beverages such as coffee, black tea and energy drinks during the second half of the day is a good idea to avoid a disrupted sleep. Don’t forget this also includes the caffeine containing herbs such as green tea, matcha and kola nut. For some people it may also help to avoid some of the more stimulating herbs such as Rhodiola, Panax ginseng and Schisandra too. Everyone is different, so you’ll need to pay close attention to your body and how these herbs effect your nervous system. If you’re sensitive to stimulation, move these herbs to the beginning of your day to avoid overstimulation in the evenings.

3.       Weave herbal adaptogens into your daily routine

Stress can impact sleep quality and duration due to its impact on our nervous system. On the other side of the coin, poor sleep can inhibit our ability to handle stress. In a vicious cycle, stress and anxiety can both contribute to and be caused or exacerbated by poor quality sleep. You may be aware of a group of herbs known as adaptogens. Herbal adaptogens are a potent group of herbs that work by enabling the body to better handle stress. They promote normal physiological function in the presence of physical, environmental, emotional or biological stressors. Popular herbal adaptogens include Withania, Maca, Siberian ginseng and Rhodiola. Dose and timing is important, so feel free to come in for a chat so we can decide what is right for you.

4.       Eat early and support digestion

Eating a large meal before bed will impact the quality of your sleep. I can see this first hand in my Oura ring data. During the first half of the night we get the majority of our deep sleep where the brain slows down and the body releases growth hormone and works to build and repair muscles, bones and tissues. Deep sleep also promotes immune system function and is important for cognitive function. If the body is busy digesting during the first half of the night, we lose out on this precious restorative sleep. Try moving your dinner to at least 2 hours prior to bedtime and consider using herbal bitters or digestives if your digestion is sluggish. Herbal bitters can be used prior to eating to stimulate bile flow and stomach acid production. They make a wonderful alcohol replacement!

Herbal digestives are useful if you suffer from any digestive upset after meals such as bloating, fluctuance and cramping. Peppermint works wonderfully as a digestive, sipped as a tea after meals. Other digestive herbs include Lemon balm, Fennel and Chamomile.


5.       Turn to herbal sedatives if falling to sleep is difficult

Herbal sedatives, nervine tonics and relaxants can be really useful for anyone struggling to calm the mind and body prior to bed time. These herbs can be used to help reset the circadian clock of the body so you can start to feel drowsy in the evening. Mild herbal sedatives such as Kava and Passionflower can help to calm the mind and body whilst also reducing symptoms of anxiety and irritability. California poppy and Jamaican dogwood are wonderful sedative herbs that can help with pain, particularly nerve pain, that is keeping you up at night.


If you need a hand with sleep, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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