A big obstacle that often prevents fabulous wellness is stress. Stress has become an everyday normality in our lives to the extent that we expect to be stressed. For some people stress can even become a ‘badge of honour’, indicating to others their dedication, reliability and ability to cope in spite of pressure. Stress brings it’s own swag of long-term problems such as inflammation in the body and consequent chronic disease. But it also affects us in more obvious and immediate ways, such as sleep. These tips will help you get better sleep and reduced stress
The Sleep Stress Link
Sleep and stress are entwined in such a way that each affects the other. High stress causes sleep problems. Poor sleep leads to more stress.
When you’re stressed you often have trouble dropping off to sleep. Or you wake during the night and then lie awake for hours with thoughts buzzing around your head. Or perhaps you wake at an ungodly early hour, long before the sun, only to lie awake waiting for the alarm to go off.
Naturally after such a disturbed night with too little sleep you spend the next day on edge, finding it difficult to think clearly, barely coping and easily stressed. As the day ends you face the prospect of another sleepless night.
As the days and weeks drag on in this pattern it can feel like this cycle of sleep and stress will never end.
Of course you can resort to sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds. But these come with added problems and side-effects.
Sleep and stress exist in such a tight relationship sotrying to change either on
its own can be extremely difficult
The relief you crave needs a combination of natural remedies and changes to lifestyle practices that target both sleep and stress at the same time to break this pattern apart.
22 Tips For Better Sleep And Reduced Stress
Using your phone, or any electronic devices including TV right before you sleep interferes with your melatonin production. This is a sure-fire guarantee you have a bad night’s sleep ahead. Melatonin is released by your brain to regulate your circadian rhythm and directly affects the sleep cycle . Light from technology devices shuts the cycle down which keeps you awake, sometimes for hours.
Exercise regularly because just thirty minutes of exercise during the day helps you fall sleep. Make sure it’s not near bedtime or it will wake you up.
Menopausal hormonal changes can leave you desperate for sleep. If hot flushes, palpitations, or pain interfere with your sleep a homeopath or natural therapist can help you bring your body back into balance and reduce these disturbing symptoms.
Chamomile tea has a homeopathic effect to relieve anxiety and help you relax.
Get a health check-up. There are a number of diseases that can interfere with sleep such as diabetes, fibromyalgia or cardiovascular disease.
Eat a healthy diet. Eating before bedtime may make sleep worse.
Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is present in some processed foods, drinks and medications as well as coffee and tea.
Dairy and wheat foods often cause an upset gut, congestion, and apnoea which disturb sleep.
Avoid alcohol. Although it may send you to sleep initially, alcohol has a kick-back effect that sees you wide awake a few hours later. It also stops you entering the deeper, restful sleep stages.
Snacks high in sugar and processed grains before bed disturb sleep by disrupting blood sugar levels.
Set the Scene
Make your bedroom an inviting place to sleep. Clear out the clutter and don’t take work, junk or chores anywhere near your bed. You sleep better in an uncluttered environment.
Turn off your electronic devices. The electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s) surrounding them disrupt the pineal gland and melatonin and serotonin production. You’re better to turn them right off or leave them in another room as they emit radiation even on airplane mode. Get an alarm clock instead.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, Qi Gong, massage, or meditation in the two hours before bed help you relax. Choose gentle forms of yoga.
Even small amounts of light disrupt brain patterns and the neurotransmittors you need for sleep. Keep your room dark. Use a pink Himalayan Salt Lamp which doesn’t disrupt sleep if you need a night light in your room.
Beds are for sleeping (and that other fun activity). Don’t take your work with you because then your brain associates your bed with work or TV viewing which makes getting to sleep even harder.
Set regular sleep and wake-up times and stick to them, even on weekends. Your body clock will align itself with these times making it easier to fall asleep and wake up.
Stop working at least an hour before bed and use that hour to begin your relaxation process.
Create a Conscious Self-Care bedtime relaxation routine. Include whatever makes you feel grounded, relaxed and whole. It may include meditation, a warm bath, massage, reading, aromatherapy, calming music, or journaling. Whatever you choose should make you feel good, so you look forward to doing it every night. Set this routine and your body will begin to associate it with sleep.
Keep a pen and paper beside your bed. When swarming thoughts keep you awake write them down and get them out of your head. Get all the worries and plans for tomorrow out of your brain to calm your nervous system.
Get to bed before midnight. Your body detoxes the most during asleep in the hours before midnight. So early-to-sleep is great for your health and wellness.
If you’re aware what disturbs your sleep, be prepared. If you have poor circulation wear warm socks. If you’re a light sleeper who’s easily disturbed by a possum outside the window or a car backfiring, wear earplugs. If any light at all disturbs you get a sleep mask.
Don’t watch the clock! It simply increases your stress and anxiety as you watch the hours tick past. Turn it away from you.
In my clinic I find a combination of Homeopathic remedies and herbal essences combined with lifestyle changes are the most effective natural remedies for sleep problems. This combination supports you to break apart poor sleep patterns and bring your body back into balance.
There are natural sleep remedies available over-the-counter. Many are herbal, others are homeopathic. Each of these may make a huge difference and give you the relief you need.
But if you find no relief after trying a few different ones it’s likely that the ingredients they contain are just not the specific ones you need. This is when you need an individualised remedy from a practitioner who can select appropriately for you.
I hope these suggestions help you get a great sleep. I’d love you to share what helps you sleep in the comments below.
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I conduct natural health consultations online or in person in Warrandyte Victoria. Please contact me.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only. They are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.