How Can I Get A Better Night's Sleep?
Everyone needs sleep. Some of us feel like we don’t get enough of it. Perhaps you want to stop taking sleeping pills, or maybe they aren’t as effective as they used to be?
A lack of sleep can be seriously bad for you. On top of the mistakes you can make when you’re tired and grumpy, a lack of sleep can also decrease your immune system and make you more susceptible to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
How much sleep do you need?
As a general rule, most of us need eight hours of quality rest each night, but everyone is different. If you wake up feeling tired or want to take a nap during the day, it’s likely you’re not getting enough sleep. So what can you do to get more, better quality rest when you close your eyes?
Establish A Sleep Routine
Before you start looking at pills, vitamins and supplements, create good sleep hygiene.
“Stop watching TV at least an hour or two before going to sleep,” says Naturopathic Pharmacist Mark Webster. “Use side lamps instead of bright lights, reduce the backlight on your phone, or better yet, stop looking at it altogether. Those bright lights tell your brain it’s time to be awake and engaged, and does not encourage it to relax in preparation for sleep.”
Another good tip is to read before bed, but not while you’re in bed. Also, make sure you’re reading an actual book and not a Kindle or tablet with a back-lit screen. But why is reading recommended as part of a sleep-time routine?
“Think of the old hypnotism acts on TV or in the movies. They waved a pocketwatch or pendant on a chain in front of the person they were hypnotising, sending them into a more relaxed state. The same back and forth movement when watching the chain is what happens to our eyes when we read, so a good book can really help send us off to sleep” says Mark.
Create A Sleepy Environment
“Chamomile tea and lavender have wonderful relaxing properties that can boost sleep. Try a few drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase, and drinking chamomile tea in the evenings.
“Another way to rest your mind during the day, and helping you relax better in the evenings, is to simply blink and breathe,” says Mark. “It’s a simple meditation tool where you look at a cloud or a tree moving gently in the breeze, or focus at a point on the wall and simply blink and breathe for five minutes."
"It’s a great tool for preventing all the thoughts of the day running through your head when you’re manage your stress during the day or trying to sleep when your day has finished.”
Sleep Boosting Vitamins and Supplements
There are natural ways to sleep better that don’t involve taking sleeping pills.
“Among it’s many other health benefits, magnesium is proven to help boost a more healthy and restful sleep,” says Mark
Other sleep boosting supports include combinations of zinc, B3 and B6 vitamins, plus a supplement called 5HTP..
“In particular, 5HTP increases the amount of seratonin produced in your brain. Seratonin has a big impact on sleep, but is also linked to our appetite, mental health and pain threshold,” says Mark.
Before taking vitamins and supplements to help you sleep, you should seek qualified medical advice.
“Everyone is different. From how much they need to sleep, to how different chemicals will react in their body,” says Mark. “While 5HTP is a great sleep-aid for many, it can react badly with some anti-depressants and other medications”
Contact Stay Well Pharmacy
If you constantly wake up feeling tired, or spend half your night tossing and turning, try creating a sleep routine before bed and see if that makes a difference over time. For qualified medical advice around sleep inducing behaviours, vitamins and supplements, make a time to talk with Mark Webster at Stay Well Pharmacy. Together, you can create a wellness plan that helps you rest up and get a full forty winks. Contact Stay Well Pharmacy today on 03 349 8785.