Easy ways to enhance your sleep naturally

Sleeping well has become a hallmark of modern healthy lifestyles with a myriad of sleep apps, programmes, supplements, and meds on offer to usher in utopian nights.  There is increased awareness that sufficient restorative sleep is not just important for the next day’s performance at work and school but is also essential for mental health and long-term preventative health reasons. 

What if a good night’s sleep is easier than we think?

Doryce Sher, a qualified pharmacist, aromatherapist and the founder of Aromatic Apothecary says, “All the reasons why we don’t sleep are the reasons why we have so many interventions to counteract this.  We don’t sleep because we have too much screen time, because of artificial lighting, because we are stressed and worried about everything, because we are travelling, because our Circadian rhythm is out of sync, because we are going through hormonal changes, both women and men as we age, because of the meds we take and so on.  So, for all these problems there are going to be behavioural therapy solutions to counteract each one.”

Research has shown that sleep is a lot more than recharging our energy to face the next day.  It can impact longevity, as well as improve diabetic and cardiovascular conditions and brain functions.  Sleep plays an important role in how the body heals from over-exertion after a tough workout to shoring us up when it comes to serious health conditions.

Just like people fall into the habit of not sleeping, they can fall into the habit of sleeping

Sleeping well is all about preparation because the mind and body need to be synchronised at bedtime.  Many of the tactics that new parents use such as a warm bath, a relaxing massage, low light, a comfortable space, and a quiet environment are just as relevant throughout our lifetime.

Doryce explains, “Our bodies respond to the environment and after sunset they do their job in preparing us for sleep.  But if the mind is stressed, anxious and distracted it can waste the release of melatonin and other hormonal interplays that make us naturally ready for sleep.  Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, as well as depressants such as alcohol create further disturbances.  In today’s world, screen time before bed is a major sleep disruptor.  Yes, you may fall asleep in front of TV, but that doesn’t mean you go on to have a restorative night of sleep. Before long you have woken up and can’t fall easily back to sleep.  And soon you’ve gotten into the bad habit of not sleeping well.”

Finding natural solutions for better sleep

  • A quiet and comforting environment – there’s a lot to be gained by focusing on the conduciveness of your sleeping environment and bedtime routine.  Make sure your bed is comfortable and keep screens and phones out of your sleeping space.  Keep the lights low and the ambiance restful.  This is a simple, routine way of setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
  • Soothe mental turmoil before bedtime – Doryce says, “Anxiety is an anathema to sleep, so the first step is to neutralise stress because relaxation is the precursor to good sleep.  Be proactive and take a warm bath, inhale a blend of essential oils that have a sedative and balancing effect such as Aromatic Apothecary’s Silent Moments formula which includes geranium, lavender, neroli and chamomile to help reduce the cortisol and adrenaline that spike when you are anxious. When it comes to a blend, the whole is more than the sum of its parts in creating a sedative effect.”  Aromatic Apothecary’s Silent Moments range offers a variety of solutions to cater for different preferences when it comes to preparing for sleep. Doryce explains, “Relaxing in a warm bath infused with Silent Moments bath oil or bath salts sets the mood for sleep. Use the massage oil to massage your feet, creating a nighttime ritual that soothes the entire body in preparation for sleep. The Silent Moments range also includes burner oil and a pillow spray.  Having soothing aromas in a burner in the hour before lights out creates a calm, sleepy atmosphere and spraying your pillow creates a lingering, sleep-inducing effect.”  
  • Help yourself to get back to sleep – Developing new and better sleep habits can take time. The results of dedicated sleep prep may not always be perfect every time. Don’t get discouraged if you prepare well but still wake up in the night.  Be aware of pitfalls such as looking at the time as this is a singular action that can easily shift your consciousness into awake mode. Keep your focus on relaxing and falling back to sleep. Doryce says, “Keep a fast-acting aromatherapy solution such as Aromatic Apothecary’s Silent Moments mini roll-on on your bedside table which will assist with instant de-stressing and have an immediate, gentle sedative action on the body. Falling back to sleep quickly will help to train the body to sleep through the night. Too often, when we are worried about our sleep and happen to wake up in the night, we grab our phone to check the time, which doesn’t help at all, and then we start stressing about the fact that we are not asleep.”
  • Shifting your mindset – Many people claim that they have insomnia, yet this is a diagnosed condition and struggling to get good sleep is not the same. ‘I can’t sleep’ is a powerful affirmation that can be changed.  Telling yourself: ‘I am relaxing, I fall back to sleep easily’ is just as effective mental programming, but the difference is that it is aligned to your goal of getting a good night’s sleep. This highlights that it is important to be in control of your thoughts.

Doryce concludes, “In today’s rapidly changing world with so many external stresses, it’s not surprising that we are currently closely focused on sleep.  While sleep energises, it also heals, boosts resilience and is a vital part of self-care and healthy lifestyles. It impacts on our mental health and emotional well-being.  So, we need to take the natural steps to improve the quality of our sleep, and the best thing about this is that they are lovely, calming practices.  We are talking about bringing warm baths, gorgeous, relaxing scents, massages, bedroom comforts, deep breaths, and soft lights into your night-time routine. It’s too good to resist.”

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