Did you know that most experts now agree that sleep is as critical a component to your overall health and well-being as nutrition and physical activity? A lack of sleep over time is now associated with a shorter life span.
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According to an updated study by the National Sleep Foundation if you're between the ages of 18-64 you need 7-9 hours of sleep daily. Most of us rarely get 7-9 hours straight each night and for various reasons.
We're so willing to sacrifice a few hours of much needed Zzz's to scroll through our cell phones and catch up on social media, work longer hours, watch TV, do our laundry, get more done! Sleep becomes a luxury when we're so caught up in being busy.
Not to mention, when we do finally rest our heads down - our mind is still fluttering with activity. We're mentally going over our to-do lists for tomorrow, revisiting the going ons from our day, the conversations we had and before we know it, our heart is racing and adrenaline is pumping because we're stressing ourselves out. And now, of course, it's impossible to fall asleep.
So we compensate by consuming more caffeine to help us through our day, apply extra concealer to our dark circles so that we look refreshed and give in to our cravings for sugary treats because our body is looking for the energy we're so clearly lacking.
All of this does nothing to help us on our quest for glowing skin, increased energy, and balanced hormones. So what can we do? How can we work towards getting a more restful sleep?
Here's a little checklist I put together to help you get a deeper and more restful sleep:
- Develop a calming bedtime routine. Something you do each and every night at a certain time to help you unwind and destress. Feel free to use suggestions off of this list!
- void stimulating electronics such as the TV, computer and yes, even your cell phone (I struggle with this one too - but it's a biggie).
- Read/journal, ideally in dim lighting.
- Take a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils before bed.
- Avoid carbs, caffeine and alcohol around bedtime (this includes wine!)
- Incorporate evening meditation to help eliminate stress and anxiety and quiet the mind.
- Legs Up On The Wall technique is a fantastic restorative pose for calming the mind and easing stress.
- Get a Spoonk Mat (from Nature’s Emporium or online from amazon). It uses the same principles as acupuncture and can help to relax you and improve sleep.
- Diffuse essential oils to help create a calm environment and lull you into a deeper, more restful sleep. Some of my favourites include lavender, vetiver, marjoram and roman chamomile.
- Drink a calming, soothing herbal tea before bed. Keep reading below to find out which ones I think are best.
I'm sure for most of you that this checklist will end up on an already very long to-do list - life's busy, I get it and the holidays are around the corner. I know you have the best of intentions but I want to give you something actionable - something quick, convenient and fool-proof.
What's easier than drinking a soothing/calming tea before bedtime!?
Here are my top 4 teas to help you get a more restful sleep:
- Yogi - Restful Sleep. This blend includes valerian (the kind of sleep aid herbs IMO), chamomile, passion flower and skull cap. I love valerian root - it's such a powerful sleep aid. Ideal for anyone who suffers from insomnia. Studies have shown that Valerian root can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep which is fantastic for anyone who has a racy brain that won't stop! BONUS: because it's a natural muscle relaxer, it can help reduce the pain associated with menstrual cramps.
- The Honest Leaf - Serene. This minty blend consists of peppermint, chamomile, passionflower and lavender. Passionflower is another herbal powerhouse. It's great for helping to reduce anxiety and insomnia. And for any of the ladies dealing with hot flashes - passionflower is your friend! It can help reduce many of the symptoms associated with menopause.
- Traditional Medicinals - Nighty Night. Includes passionflower, chamomile and catnip. Catnip - this gentle herb has amazing sedative properties. It's an amazing calming agent for the mind and body and helps promote a more restful sleep. Chamomile is a wonder herb for stress, it can help calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
- Pukka - Nighttime. Lavender, valerian and crushed oat straw. A restorative and soothing blend for the nervous system. Traditionally oat tea has been used as a sedative and particularly helpful for insomnia. It's both gentle and supportive in nature. Perfect for those of us who are constantly on the go until finally our body has had enough and we're left feeling depleted and tired.
You may have to go through a little trial and error before you find the right blend suited to your needs. But essentially you want to look for herbal blends that include the following: valerian, passionflower, hop, lavender, chamomile and catnip.
You can find many of these teas at your health food store or online from amazon.ca/amazon.com, iherb or directly from the tea company themselves.
You can master a more restful sleep! Even if you can't tackle the checklist I provided you, I know you can make yourself a cup of tea before bedtime. You've got those 7-9 hours in the bag 😉
Let's talk: What are you go-to habits to get a more deeper, more restful sleep?