Treasures of Nature

Sleeping Nightmares or Dreams?

How Do You Sleep?

The clock strikes 2. You roll over again on your left side then change your mind to lie on your right side. Before you know it, the clock strikes 4 and you still have not been able to get to sleep.

Another couple of hours and you have to get up for work/college/school! Arrrgggh! So you get frustrated you can’t seem to get those much needed ZZZZZZZZ’s.

Sleep is vital to our physical and emotional well being. Lack of sleep or Insomnia is often a result of  stress in our life so here are a few hints and tips to try if you are one of those people that simply just wants to have a good nights sleep!

1)  How much sleep?

Don’t get anxious by the fact you think you need 8 hours sleep! Your body is individual and some people can function extremely well on just 5 or 6 hours. Becoming fixated by trying to sleep for 8 hours a night will add to your stress levels.

2) Avoid eating too late

Avoid eating a heavy meal before you go to bed. Going to bed on a full tummy can leave you feeling bloated and may cause indigestion or heartburn. Your body will be busy trying to digest all that food instead of sleeping and getting that much deserved rest.

3) Chill Out!

Try to avoid working late into the evening. Look at your habits a few hours before going to bed. Do you spend hours on your laptop, mobile or gaming console? Are you busy rushing around trying to sort out the next day? You may have the “i’m so tired but just can’t sleep” syndrome, Your mind is so busy, it just can’t switch off. Try and think of ways to make your evening more relaxed and calm. Allow yourself time to ‘switch off’ before you think of going to bed and avoid over-stimulating tv or books which will only encourage your mind to race more!

4) Nice n Comfy

A nice comfy bed is a definite for a good nights sleep! Make sure its just right for you, If you have aches and pains, try and use extra pillows for support The right temperature in your bedroom is also important. Too hot or cold and you certainly won’t sleep. Good ventilation is helpful because sometimes stuffy rooms can cause you to wake up.

5) Practice Mindful Breathing

Try breathing techniques to help relax your mind, reducing tension and anxiety. Find a quiet space and sit or lie whichever is comfier. Place your hand on your tummy, and begin to focus on breathing in through your nose sensing your tummy rise up as the air fills your lungs. Hold for a few seconds and then breathe out, feeling your tummy move towards your back.Make sure all the air is breathed out of your lungs. Continue with this trying to keep your focus on your breath and the movement of your tummy.

6) Take a Warm Bath

A soothing and indulgent warm bath at night can work wonders in helping to unwind and prepare ourselves for a good nights sleep. Try adding up to 3 drops of essential oil like Lavender or Marjoram which can help carry you away to a land of slumber. Lavender and Marjoram are known to be relaxing and sedating but in larger doses can be stimulating so stick to just 3 drops. Neal’s Yard do a deeply rich and moisturising Body Butter to help nourish and feed your skin at night with the lovely addition of sleep enhancing essential oils.

7) Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser

If you have a diffuser, try adding a couple of drops of essential oils at night to fill your bedroom with calming and soothing aroma. Alternatively, add a couple of drops to a tissue and place in the corner of your pillow slip. Good choices again are Lavender*, Marjoram*, Roman Chamomile*, Vetivert or Clary Sage. The oils starred use only 1 drop due to their stimulating affects in high doses. Marjoram is also useful if you suffer with a stuffy nose and Lavender is also good for helping to keep bugs at bay.  Neal’s Yard Remedies do a deeply relaxing pillow mist which you can spritz around your bedroom and onto your pillow before retiring.

8) Lighting

Melatonin is a hormone which regulates our sleep patterns. It is produced by the Pineal Gland in our brain and reacts to light and dark. When it gets dark, Melatonin is released which helps us go to sleep To help encourage tiredness, try to keep light out of your bedroom. This may mean putting up blackout curtains/blinds. Think about using a beautiful natural Himalayan salt lamp as your bedside table or change the wattage of your bulb so your bedroom is dimly lit. Salt lamps have many therapeutic qualities and will gently light a corner of your room giving a subtle warming glow.

9) Try a Warm Drink at Bedtime

A warm mug of milk or herbal tea at night can help to drift our body’s off to sleep. Avoid milk, however, if you have a cold or suffer with blocked sinuses and have congestion etc as this will make your symptoms worse. There are many herbal teas to try to help induce sleep. Try Pukka Nighttime, Clipper Snore n Peace,  or Neal’s Yard Calming Herbal tea if anxiety is causing problems with getting a good nights sleep,

10) Find ways to cope with Stress

Stress and being unable to sleep go hand in hand. This then becomes a vicious circle, the less we sleep the more stressed we get. The more stressed we get, the less we sleep. When our body is constantly exposed to stress on a daily basis, levels of cortisol play havoc with our body. This can cause high blood pressure, palpitations, stomach problems such as IBS, skin problems, susceptibility to increased infections, viruses etc and even sudden sensitivity to foods and skincare products. Unfortunately, we cannot always get rid of the issue that’s causing stress. But we can help ourselves through times of ongoing stress.

  • Try and find things that you enjoy doing or like. Make a note of this positive thing in your life, even if it seems small and insignificant, it is a step forward to reducing stress.
  • Try and release stored up tension and stress. Any form of exercise is helpful from cardiac to gardening to yoga. Whatever takes your fancy!
  • Try laughing! A good laugh over a ridiculous film or something which will leave your sides hurting and stomach aching shakes all those stress hormones out your body!
  • Practice mindfulness. There are many books, internet sites that focus on this subject which is known to reduce stress by learning to live in the moment.
  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for being stressed. Allow yourself some time out. You are your own best friend.
  • Know when to seek help. If you stress is chronic (long term) and you are suffering physically and emotionally, accept you should seek help and realise this is a positive step to tackling your problems.
  • There are many fantastic organisations that provide helpful advice and info from bereavement, marital/relationship problems to financial, phobias and drug abuse issues. These are free websites which are ran by those who have been through such difficult times. Here you can access great information on your particular trouble. Reading and hearing other peoples stories and difficulties can bring some reassurance that you are not alone and may even help you to solve some issues without even having to speak to anyone.
  • For some conditions, it may be however, vital you seek advice from your GP especially if someone is particularly vulnerable and you are concerned for their safety. Once the right treatment and approach is given, then other help can come into play. One of the hardest steps to make is admitting their is a problem. Taking that first move can be extremely difficult but is a positive one.
  • Think about taking a good multivitamin supplement. When our body is under stress, our digestive system struggles and nutrients can struggle to absorb into our body. Also probiotics can assist in aiding our digestion, particularly if stress is causing skin and digestive problems.