Could Hogwarts herbology really help you to a better night’s sleep?

The Good Life Letter 

20th November 2016

With bits of the local countryside clattering against the bedroom windows this week as the stormy weather caressed us, sleep was hard to come by.

But even without Mother Nature’s cacophony I find there are times when the Land of Nod is not to be visited for long periods of the night.

Whether its worry, cheese suppers or getting older I go through periods of lying awake watching the clock tick away the small hours before I finally drop into a delicious sleep... just as the alarm clock sounds!

Fortunately this is a rare occurrence but talking to my mum and dad it seems that for them a proper full night’s sleep is a distant memory – and that isn’t a prospect I look forward to.

Besides unless I get my full sleep in I become really grumpy, argumentative and petty (please keep all comments to yourselves at this point!).

However a lack of sleep heralds even more worrying news:

  • Impaired Immune System: Making you more likely to contract seasonal conditions like coughs and colds, as well as suffer from digestive and urinary tract infections which are more common in the colder months.

  • Increased risk of heart disease: Sleep deprivation causes physiological changes in our bodies which
    increase blood pressure, making the heart work harder to pump blood around our systems. Weaker hearts are more vulnerable to lasting damage.

  • Increased risk of type II diabetes: Lack of sleep impairs the production of the essential hormone insulin which regulates blood sugar levels.

  • Heightened accident risk: Especially if you are driving or operating machinery, but even in the case of everyday activities, as a result of decreased co-ordination, slowed decision making and micro-sleeps.

Increased levels of depression: A lack of sleep is a major symptom of but also a precursor to stress and anxiety.

During sleep, the brain rests busy neurons and forms new pathways so you’re ready to face the world in the morning. While you’re sleeping, your body is also producing proteins that help cells repair damage.

In addition to these you can suffer moodiness, hallucinations, memory loss, weight gain and severe headaches, all of which make you very attractive to the opposite sex...

...which is bad news as your libido is ruined too!

If sleep is hard to come by, try this natural aid to a restful night

How can you ensure a better sleep?

Suffering from the occasional bad night isn’t the end of the world, but if you suffer like my parents with continually broken sleep how could you get back to better habits?

According to the National Sleep Foundation in America there are six basic ways to ensure a better night’s sleep:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.

  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.

  4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.

  5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.

  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up

So, you’ve got yourself a regime for bedtime, but chances are you might need some extra help – without resorting to potentially dangerous sleeping pills.

Fortunately the natural world can help!

A natural formulation of the best sleep remedies in a handy pack

Nature’s night time remedies


Natural sleep aids can be found in every society and form part of the ancient medicine chests of local remedies from around the world – but there are a few common ones such as:

Valerian Root: Often found in combination with Chamomile in a tea due to their abilities to help in relaxation and sedation, they are also used to help those suffering from stress and anxiety too.

Feverfew: Was used by Greek physicians to treat ‘melancholy’, which may have included headaches as well as depression, but also as a powerful sleep aid. The English used it into the seventeenth century as a rest tonic as well as a cure for symptoms that might translate today into vertigo, depression, and headache, as well as for lowering fever.

Skullcap: Sounds like a proper wizard’s herb but is commonly used to aid sleep as it has muscle relaxing properties and is helpful for headaches (especially tension headaches).

Ginkgo biloba: A herb that has been extensively studied and researched throughout the world. Ginkgo has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern cultures as a relaxant and sedative, also useful in treating circulatory disorders and to improve memory.

Theanine: This unlikely sounding amino acid is what gives green tea its relaxing properties. Japanese researchers found that this compound helps you stay in relaxed and dream free sleep.

Fortunately I have been able to find a product that combines these ancient, proven and entirely natural compounds into a handy night time mouth spray which means that you can enjoy better and more restful sleep.

It also contains B vitamins, lavender and an extract of wild cherry that will also help you to a more peaceful night, a happier day and a healthier life.

The product is called Rest Well and you can read all about it and more about sleep here

Yours, as always


Ray

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