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5 Secrets for Healthy Sleep

5 Secrets for Healthy Sleep | Mr Vitamins
A good night’s healthy sleep does more than just give you the energy you need to power through all your activities the following day – it’s also essential to many aspects of wellbeing, including healthy memory and cognitive function. If you're having trouble getting to sleep at night, are sleeping restlessly, or are waking during the night, here are a handful of simple, natural strategies that may help.

1. Avoid alcohol in the evenings

Because alcohol makes you feel relaxed, it’s easy to assume that it must help you to sleep. However, while drinking in the evenings may make you drowsy, it actually has negative effects on the quality of your sleep. For example, it may cause restlessness by sending signals to your brain that its time to wake up, and can also reduce the restorative effects of sleep, leaving you feeling physically and mentally fatigued the next day. Try to avoid alcohol altogether if you have sleeping problems, and if you do choose to drink, make sure to stop at least two hours before going to bed.

2. Herbs to promote restful sleep

In Western herbal medicine, Passionflower has a long history of traditional use as a natural sedative. It’s also regarded as having anti-anxiety properties, so may be particularly beneficial if mild anxiety is present along with your sleeping difficulties. Herbs that are used similarly in traditional Chinese medicine include Polygala, which is regarded as having calming and relaxing effects, and Ziziphus, which is considered particularly beneficial for sleep that is restless or dream-disturbed. In traditional Chinese medicine, sleeping difficulties are often attributed to a disturbance of the Shen, that aspect of our Spirit that encompasses our consciousness, thinking and related activities. In this ancient system of medicine, the herb Biota is traditionally regarded as helping to calm and settle the Shen, so is commonly taken in conjunction with herbs such as Ziziphus and Polygala, mentioned above.

3. Set your bedroom up for a good night’s rest

For optimal sleeping conditions, your bedroom should obviously be as dark and as quiet as possible, so close the curtains, and consider getting block out blinds if you’re disturbed by external light sources. You’ll also want to switch off your phone and any other electronic devices that emit light or sounds during the night. Ideally, keep them turned off and in another room, so you’re not tempted to exacerbate your sleeping difficulties by getting online when you should be resting. The temperature and ventilation of your room is important too. The ideal temperature for sleeping is around 18 degrees Celsius, and a warmer room, or one that is stuffy can tend to interfere with sleep. That means that if you’re prone to feeling cold at night, it’s better to add an extra blanket to your bed than to turn the heater on.

 4. Exercise daily – but not near bedtime

Being physically active during the day helps to tire you out in a healthy way, reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the length of time that you stay asleep. However exercise can raise both your body temperature and your alertness, so it's important to avoid physical activity for at least two hours prior to bedtime so that your body has time to cool down afterwards and shift into relaxation mode.

5. Sort out your stress levels

Unsurprisingly, stress is the most common cause of sleeping problems, so if you’re going through a tough time, it’s a good idea to take active steps to support your ability to cope. The exercise habit discussed above is a great place to start, as is cutting back on alcohol. Also consider spending time in the evenings on activities that promote relaxation, like meditation, yoga or listening to classical music. Herbs may also be beneficial for enhancing your mental and physical ability to adapt to stress. For example, in Ayurvedic medicine, Withania and Sacred Basil are traditionally taken during times of stress and are believed to support the ability to cope under pressure. Both are also regarded as helping to address stress-related sleeping difficulties.

Mr Vitamins recommends

Fusion Health, premium quality Australian-made supplements that combine the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine and the science of modern Western herbalism, including: Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.

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