It’s 3am. You’ve been wide awake for hours. And there’s only a few hours to go before your alarm. Is anyone else out there struggling to beat insomnia?
You’re definitely not alone! Here are a few ways to help:
- Managing your cortisol levels may be key to improving your sleep. Consistently poor sleep leaves you feeling hungover and can even exacerbate hormonal imbalances, heightening PMT and menopausal symptoms. A herbal supplement may help to instil calm. Lavender essential oil can, in some cases, be as effective as antidepressants used to treat anxiety disorders. Researchers believe the lavender oil calms nerve cells and neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
- While you should be emptying your mind and settling in for deep sleep, your brain often has other ideas, like the Netflix series you binged before bed. Various studies show that white noise can help to improve sleep. Find white noise playlists on YouTube or Spotify. Alternatively, for something a little more pleasing to the ear, the album Sleep by composer Max Richter plays eight hours of calming classical music that coerces the brain into sleep.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is fast becoming an aid for a whole host of everyday issues including anxiety, pain and poor sleep. CBD has been shown to ease anxiety and pain, both of which can make it harder to fall or stay asleep. Secondly, CBD is known to interact with receptors in the brain that govern the body’s daily sleep/wake cycles and contains almost no THC – the chemical responsible for cannabis’s psychoactive effects.
- Keep your bedroom dark so that you release the sleep hormone melatonin; and keep the temperature of your room cool, around 18˚C, as your body temperature needs to drop before you can fall asleep.
- Don’t underestimate the effect of a proper routine. Regularity is king. If you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, even at the weekend, your keep your body in sync with your natural circadian rhythm.
- A bath-time routine can be beneficial for adults as well as children. Magnesium can positively impact sleep, helping the body relax. It’s one of the minerals we are generally more depleted in, as we use it up when we’re stressed.
- Steer clear of alcohol no matter how tempting a glass of wine may be. Alcohol is disruptive and blocks REM sleep. And be careful about your caffeine intake during the day. Caffeine has a quarter life of 12 hours, meaning if you have a coffee after noon, a quarter of the caffeine content will still be in your system long after you go to bed.
- Ultimately, the most important piece of advice is to experiment until you find the most calming sleep space and routine that suits you best. And don’t expect change to happen overnight, give it a couple of weeks to see if you’re feeling more rested. Sleep well.