One wonderful thing about summer is the slower pace. When our kids were younger we were able to take a vacation in Hawaii. Our days were filled with riding waves, snorkeling, hiking, and enjoying time together. My husband and I kept the same sleep schedule as our kids -- they went to be early and slept for 10-12 hours. At the end of that vacation I felt so rested and rejuvenated.
But many people have trouble sleeping and long for natural solutions. They may try to get a good night's rest but it seems elusive. I've been fascinated by sleep for a long time -- why we need it and how much we need. Sleep needs vary by age but getting the sleep you need is important. It refreshes us, helps us to think more clearly, allows our body to repair and recover, and keeps our systems working smoothly.
So what are some simple things we can do to help support sounder sleep? Here are a few quick tips that may help as well as some herbs and oils that support sleep.
1. Set a bedtime routine: We had a routine of a bath and bedtime stories for our kids as well as a regular bedtime. This helped them wind down and prepare for bed. However I tended to be a bit more erratic with my bedtime routine. Since most of us don't have an on off switch we need some time to unwind. A regular bedtime and soothing routine can help.
2. Careful with screen time before bed: Devices that emit blue light can mimic the noon day sun and trick our bodies into feeling awake. You can set your device to a warmer color or use blue blocking glasses.
3. A good night sleep begins in the morning: Getting out in the morning sun can help reset your sleep clock and set you up for a more sound nights rest. We sometimes forget that we are also part of earth's ecosystem and respond to the light and dark. Check out Dr. Hizon's TedXTemecula talk to learn more about this
4. Is what you are eating or drinking disrupting your sleep? Most of us know caffeine can make us feel awake and may need to avoid it too close to bedtime but certain foods and drinks or even medication can disrupt sleep. Alcohol can make us feel sleepy but as it is metabolized we may wake up too early. A heavy meal may disrupt our sleep as well. Take a look at your diet to see if it may be a culprit.
5. Exercise and sleep: Exercise and movement are vital to good health. However vigorous exercising too close to bedtime may make it tougher to sleep. Overtraining can also disrupt sleep.
6. Overthinking: When you stop and settle down for the day is your mind still racing on and on? Creating a routine along with a method to remind your mind it's time to sleep can help. Some people find creating a gratitude journal or worry box helps. Prayer, meditation, or visualization can also help. Calming herb teas and essential oils can also help.
7. Get comfy: Our neighbors like night lights. Their back yard boasts lovely lamps that glow all night. We block out that light with shades. Is your room too hot or cold? Noisy? Too quiet? Is your bed comfy? Creating a comfortable sleep environment sets the stage for a good nights sleep.
8. Herbal Helps: It may seem old fashioned but a cup of herbal tea or a bit of tincture before bed can help soothe the mind and quiet the body. Chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, hops, passion flower, valerian and so on are often featured in night time teas. These are easy to find in grocery stores, online, or you can mix up your own. Tea can become part of a night time routine hot or cold. Richard Wheland has a wonderful site that talks about using herbs. https://www.rjwhelan.co.nz/conditions/insomnia.html
9. Essential Oils: Like herbs essential oils can be a soothing part of a night time routine. You can add a few drops to a bath, diffuse prior to and during bedtime, add to a roll on, lotion, or massage oil. Oils like lavender, cedarwood, frankincense, vetiver, marjoram, bergamot, and many others can soothe, calm, and support sleep.
10. Cannabidiol: CBD has been widely touted these days and shows up in everything from bath bombs, to creams to water. When used in the correct amounts it can offer soothing sleep and calm overthinking. Check out this post on how to find the correct amount:https://thehempoilbenefits.com/cbd-oil-dosage-cannabidiol-application
These are just a few tips to support healthy sleep. If one can discover what is disrupting sleep and how to bring the body back into balance sounder sleep can occur.
What have you tried to support sounder sleep?
If you have questions contact me or stop by Be Kekoa Apothecary 28636 Old Town Front St. Suite 200.