By Jane McClurg 15 March 2018
We see a lot of people in the clinic that really struggle with getting to sleep or staying asleep or both! Many will have a good snooze on the massage table, which is totally fine but you don’t want to miss out on a nice massage by sleeping through it right?
So here are the top 10 sleep tips (in no particular order) from nutritionist and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson you can check out his book here.
Many of these tips we’ve been advising for a while but there are a few really interesting ones and even more in his book.
1. Get more sunlight during the day.
Your body needs to know when it’s day time and when it’s night time. Even the skin has photosensitive senses so its important to get out into natural light every day especially first thing in the morning to help set your circadian rhythm (cortisol in the morning, melatonin in the evening).
2. Avoid the screen.
Anything with a blue light spectrum can cause issues with sleep patterns; so it’s time to set yourself a screen curfew as well as install f.lux which can put an amber tint on your device when the sun goes down. I have this on my laptop since I’m studying late into the night. So easy and it’s free.
3. Caffeine curfew
Every body has different tolerances to caffeine, what’s yours? I can’t have coffee after 2pm or I’ll take longer to drop off to sleep and it can also affect your sleep quality. Try a green tea later in the day or better a herbal tea which has no caffeine. I love the Artemis range of tea...hugely therapeutic
Room temperature is important...around 20 degrees Celcius is ideal. As your body tends to thermoregulate at night you don’t want it working harder to warm or cool you when you should be relaxed and asleep.
5. Get to bed at the right time
I know I know you want to stay up late on the weekends but if your struggling to sleep it’s important to get to bed around 10pm every night. Keeping the same bedtime is important too. Your most rejuvenating sleep is between 10pm to 12pm...it’s the most bang for your buck for sleep quality.
6. The right magnesium
Magnesium is great for sleep, but have you tried it and it hasn’t worked for you? Quality is so important when it comes to supplements. Don’t forget to up your magnesium rich foods like broccoli, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, almonds, dark leafy greens and look for magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, when looking for a supplement.Trying topical magnesium can be a game changer for a lot of people especially if they have compromised digestive system...applying magnesium through the skin by-passes that issue. I’m looking in to a quality source for this so watch this space.
7. Black out
Yes black out curtains are not just for the nursery! This can be a game changer for many people, blocking out any light really tells the brain it’s time for sleep. Remember I said the skin has photo-senses and light can get through the eyelids as well. Check out this book on sleep Lights Out
Try a high protein (or fat) and low carb snack around 90 minutes before bedtime. This helps to manage insulin and so you don’t have a carb crash in the middle of the night that would wake you up. Try nuts, nut butter on celery, pumpkin seeds.
9. Inner chatter
Managing the voices inside our heads is an on-going challenge for most of us these days. The practice of mediation, mindfullness or prayer can be huge in calming this down. Remember you are not your mind but the master of it. Try apps such as headspace for guided meditations
Go and see a qualified naturopath or medical herbalist for advice and prescription for herbal medicine can be life changing. Again quality of the product and knowledge or how to use it is so important.
My top favourites are kava kava; a wonderful calming sedative and anxiolytic that won’t leave you groggy in the morning. Valerian root is another great sleep herb; more helpful for restlessness rather than insomnia. Chamomile is the perfect calming and anti-inflammatory herb too and easy to take as a tea.
Use high quality essential oils of therapeutic grade like doTERRA see Jane for advice on the best oils for you. Book in to an essential oils class here
The best ones for sleep are Lavender, Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Jane’s favourite blend Lavender Peace...dilute and rub onto the soles of your feet and diffuse in the bedroom or try a few drops in your bath.
Have a regular massage! Relax the body and the nervous system calm the mind all at once!
Of course you don't have to try everything but finding a few of these that might work for you could mean a good nights sleep!