By Consuella Garreffa, Diploma Remedial Massage, Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) – current
Making up the triangle of a healthy lifestyle alongside diet and exercise, is ensuring a restful sleep cycle. Sleep allows our body and mind to fully relax and recharge. We like to think something that is so important for our wellbeing should be so easy. But often a full night’s uninterrupted sleep is not as easy at it seems.
Have you ever got into bed and felt like every problem you put on the back burner during the day has now decided to pop up to be solved and two hours later you’re suddenly wondering why humans talk and monkeys don’t?
After a long day out and about I think we can all agree that this is the last thing that needs to be solved!
With a little help from these sleep boosters you should see less time solving the language of the world at all hours of the night and more time recharging your body and mind for the next day ahead.
Human touch is an important part of survival. This is no wonder when you think of all the things it helps to alleviate when receiving a cuddle from a friend in times of stress, a pat on the back for encouragement, or a massage when you’ve got aching muscles. But there is more to massage than what you may think. A one-hour therapeutic massage has been shown to positively increase our hormones serotonin and melatonin needed for that crucial nights sleep.
2. SWITCH OFF
Research suggests that exposure to blue light (projecting from LED, mobile phones, computers and tv screens) down-regulates production of the sleep hormone Melatonin. Switching off these devices at least an hour before going to bed will help the body to produce melatonin – important for that peaceful nights sleep.
Throughout the day our body temperature likes to sit at around 37degrees, when we go to sleep this temperature generally drops, varying 1-2degrees. Make sure your room is well ventilated; keep a window open where possible. Ensure pyjamas are made of natural fibres such as cotton, allowing the body to breathe. Shall you dare, sleeping naked is most optimal, allowing your skin to fully breathe.
Whether you’re in a full time job, on holidays or retired; it is always important to take time to check in. Meditation prior to going to bed helps to manage stressors by grounding thoughts. Free useful apps such as Headspace and the Smiling Mind App will assist in guided meditations or you could choose to download the Be Fertile meditations from Fertile Ground website. All you have to do is select one that connects with you.
5. SMELL THE ROSES
Smells may trigger different emotions and feelings for different individuals. Essential oils such as lavender, vetiver, chamomile and bergamot can be applied topically with oil such as sweet almond oil or place a few drops in a diffuser in the bedroom. Don’t have a diffuser but having a shower or bath prior to bed? Pop a few drops on a hot face washer in the shower and let the steam diffuse it whilst bathing to promote calm and relaxation.
6. LET THAT WATER RUN
Talking about showers, have that shower just before bed. The warmth of the shower can help signal that temperature drop spoken about earlier. Once warming up the body needs to cool down as you get out and dry yourself off. It can also be a nice mindful exercise to practice visualising any daily stressors being washed beyond your head, down your shoulders and down the drain… simply washing away any heavy thoughts.
7. BELLY BLISS
Eating and sleeping can be two of the best past times. Let’s keep them apart though. Once we’ve had a beautiful satisfying meal our body has a slight temperature rise as metabolism speeds up and digestion occurs. Allowing a few hours prior to lying down ensures that the most of our dinner has moved through our stomach and therefore will not be likely to cause any discomfort such as reflux or heartburn.
8. FEEL THE SUN
Spending time outdoors during the day time gives us a lovely boost of serotonin. Serotonin is a wonder hormone helping us feel happy and at good levels we feel content with a positive outlook and mental state. As the sun goes down and it gets darker this serotonin is then converted to that very important sleep hormone mentioned earlier, melatonin. We LOVE melatonin at sleep time!
MOVE. It’s that simple. Our body is designed to move. Just 20 minutes a day is proven to help assist in a productive sleep as well as increased energy during the day – double bonus!
Consuella Garreffa, Diploma Remedial Massage, Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) – current
Consuella Garreffa is a Remedial Massage therapist with years of valuable experience and is currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutrition. Since birth Consuella has been immersed in natural living principles, growing up on a vineyard in Mildura where traditional methods were opted to prevent disease and treat any health complaints.