As any parent who has endured weeks, months or even years of baby induced sleep deprivation, or suffered pre or post-natal insomnia, will know: it is a uniquely debilitating form of torture.
But often sleep deprivation in parents is caused by other factors too: stress at work, financial worry, and the pressures of modern day life can all make it hard to switch off easily when it comes to bedtime.
Medical herbalist, Katie Pande comments, “Before pharmaceutical sleeping tablets were invented, our ancestors relied on medicinal herbs to provide them with a natural, calming remedy for a good night’s sleep.” But key behavioural changes can also have an impact on the quality of our sleep.
Katie offers some essential tips and advice.
5 behavioural changes to help aid sleep
Winding down before bed-time is as important as stretching before exercise. Try drinking a calming herbal based tea, such as Pukka Herbs’ Night Time (£2.39 for 20 sachets) to relax the nervous system and lull you into sleep.
Meditate or practice yoga
Practice yoga for 15-30 minutes every day to calm the mind. There are some great mindfulness beginner’s apps to get you started if you’ve not meditated before.
Avoid bright lights
Avoid bright lights (including the bright light of your phone!) where you sleep – they will not help create the serene surroundings needed for sleep.
Avoid sugary foods
Caffeine and rich and fatty foods eaten too late in the evening can upset the digestive system and prevent sleep.
Exercise for 30 minutes every day to relieve tension and stress.
A strong nervine and sedative to the central nervous system relaxing tense muscles whilst also encouraging an undisturbed sleep, healthy sleeping pattern and ameliorating stress.
A classic relaxant for the whole body but particularly the nervous system.
A sweet smelling herb contains aromatic essential oils that reduce difficulty in falling asleep, promoting a more restful sleep and preventing night-time wakening.
A particularly effective in helping to treat bad dreams and soothing a frazzled nervous system.
A restorative to the nervous system which calms shattered nerves, relieves emotional instability and helps to restore a sense of peace and tranquillity.
A strengthening tonic for nourishing the nervous and immune system, reducing stress and promoting a rejuvenative night’s sleep. Ashwaganda is a modern-day ‘adaptogen’, adapting to the needs of our body and mind. On the one hand it’s a tonic with the power to strengthen an exhausted and agitated nervous system; on the other, it’s a calming and restoring sedative. It will help encourage a rejuvenative night’s sleep by helping it relax but also energising body and mind through nourishing the adrenal glands so that, on waking, you are ready for the day ahead.
To balance irregular sleeping patterns and disturbed sleep, try Pukka Herbs’ Night Time supplements; an organic, herbal blend for a good night’s sleep, £7.45 (for 30x capsules). Available in independent health food stores nationwide and to purchase online visit www.pukkaherbs.com.
Sleep Awareness Week takes place between 6-13th March.