From helpful herbs to mindful meditations, read our ideas to help you relax, quieten your mind, and learn how to sleep better naturally.
Improve sleep naturally with a bedtime routineThere is much talk of the importance of a bedtime routine for children, so it stands to reason that creating habits around bedtime can work for adults too, helping our brains to switch off and prepare for sleep. Your routine could include a skincare regime or reading a few pages of a book, or it could incorporate some of the tips below. Whatever you choose to do, a familiar series of events is a great way to signal to your mind and body that bedtime is coming.
What’s more, this process should start long before you actually climb into bed. Many experts suggest avoiding screens for an hour before bed because of the blue light emitted from them. This bright blue light can mimic the effect of daytime on our brain and interrupt sleep hormones. At the very least switch smart phones onto night-time mode to adjust the display so it gives off a warmer, less stimulating light.
Tea that helps you sleepWhether it’s the habit of sitting down to relax with a cuppa before bed, or the type of tea you drink that does the trick, many people swear by herbal tea to help sleep come easily.
Herbs will vary in the effect they have on different people, but as a general rule of thumb look for teas containing:
- Chamomile –Reported to make you feel restful and calm
- Valerian – Proven to have sedative properties, this has been used for centuries as a tea to help sleep problems and reduce anxiety
- Lavender – For its relaxing anti-stress properties
- St John’s Wort – Helps to calm the mind and take away worries. Check before you take St John’s Wort as it’s not advisable to combine with some medications.
- Peppermint – Aids digestion and settles your stomach to help you sleep
Improve sleep naturally with relaxation exercisesWhen you’re awake in bed trying to come up with things to help you sleep, you could do worse than try some simple meditation. Not only will it help your body to relax, it might just distract your mind from over-thinking and worrying.
Not sure where to start? One great technique is “equal breathing”. Here’s how to give it a go:
Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting slowly to four, hold for two and breathe out through your nose for a count of four. Continue this for a few minutes, increasing the count to five or six if you feel comfortable.
It’s very good practise to pause and take some deep breaths or meditate like this every so often during your day. It will help you to centre yourself, lower your heart rate and reduce feelings of stress. All of which helps to improve sleep naturally in the long run.
Choose natural beddingDid you know that the material your bedding is made from makes a huge difference when it comes to falling asleep? Choose a natural filling like wool for your duvet to help regulate your temperature, keeping you cool when it’s hot and snuggly warm when it’s not.
Natural wool pillows are also great for allergy sufferers due to their resistance to dust mites and mould. So if you struggle to sleep due to a snuffly nose, a wool pillow could be the answer.
Banish aches and pains with the right mattressFor some people it’s aches and pains that cause sleep problems. So what can be done? Sleeping on a mattress that supports your body in the right way can reduce those night-time wakings caused by stiff and aching joints.
Memory foam mattresses are billed as being great for posture, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that they work by holding you in position in the foam. Not only can this make you too hot, but your body has a natural need to move around at night. If it can’t easily move, you will wake up uncomfortable in the night. This can even exacerbate any joint pain or stiffness that you suffer from. Find out more ways your memory foam mattress might be stopping you sleeping.
Looking for an alternative? Natural wool mattresses are made to support your body and encourage natural movements during the night to prevent your joints stiffening.
Need more ideas to help you sleep better at night naturally? Visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub.