Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep
We all need sleep. And when we don’t get enough sleep, you feel it (especially as you get older) and it doesn’t impact you positively that’s for sure lol… I’m one of those people who needs a lot of sleep. When I’m stressed, I get fatigued very easily and need more sleep than usual. On a usual night however, I try to aim to get 7-8 hours in order to feel good and energetic. Everyone is different in regards to the hours of sleep that they need to feel rested, and you probably have an inkling in regards to what this might be for you. You may also know how a lack of good quality sleep effects you. If my sleeping patterns get erratic, I tend to get more migraines (the joys keep on coming huh! 🤪). In a recent study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that when participants experienced a shorter amount of sleep than they’re used to, they experienced more stress the next day and therefore had greater difficulty practising self-control. Stress has lots of biological effects, but it’s just one of many related symptoms related to not getting enough rest. I’ll also discuss some the skin effects further down below (biological effects and all). If you need someone to scare you with facts, pertaining to how bad it is to run on low amounts of sleep for a long time, just check out this video!
What’s difficult for me is that I’m not a morning person but a night owl. This makes waking up for work very difficult and it can mean falling asleep is difficult. So I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that may help you also. Some of these ‘tips’ you would have heard about time and time again, but we all need that reminder every now and then from a pesky friend or Aunt, so let me fill that role for you today! 😂😇😘
Take a Warm Bath (or shower!) 🛁 🚿
Studies have shown that increasing our body temperatures before bed can help us feel sleepier, leading to an easier time falling asleep, and a higher quality of rest once we do. The circadian rhythm, which controls our waking, sleeping, and eating cycles – is incredibly attuned to our body temperature. As our bodies cool down from a warm bath or shower, our circadian rhythm is signalled to begin making us sleepier. The drop in body temperature causes our body to slow down our heart rate, breathing rate, and digestion – getting our bodies into the perfect rhythm for optimal sleep (rthm.io). This is also why it is hard to get a good nights sleep when it is very hot – you’re body finds it hard to drop its core temperature. Make sure your window is open to get air circulating and potentially, have a warm/hot shower or bath even in summer before bed. I also then love sleeping with a fan on when it’s hot.
One way to up the benefit of a hot bath, is to have a salt bath. Blood vessels in your body dilate in a hot bath (decreasing your blood pressure) and pores open, allowing your skin to absorb nutrients and minerals found in the water. For a salt bath to be effective, the water should be heated to about 36-38 celsius and you should soak in the highly mineralised salt bath for about 20 minutes. I wrote a blog post on the benefits of a salt bath yeeeears ago now, but the information it contains is still legit 😉 I can’t find the massive Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salt tubs online at the moment, but you can easily find bags containing 250g for $15 (either from Dead Sea Source Australia or Fresh Fragrances & Cosmetics).
Slow Down and Have in Place a Relaxing Nightly Routine
Having a nightly routine in place really helps you to destress and enjoy the little pleasures of life after hectic and busy days. This can be as simple as your skincare routine or massaging in a body cream or lotion after your hot bath/shower. I love the well thought out formula in the ESPA Smooth & Firm Body Butter (relaxing & warming, thanks to the addition of patchouli and other essential oils). Remember to massage in your body lotions or creams into your skin as soon as you hop out of your warm bath or shower, for maximum absorption! Even if your skin is a little damp, that’s ok – the heat and water will actually help your cream absorb better.
Your routine or ‘ritual’ could also include things like reading before bed (but not on a screen folks, as that disrupts your body clock!), making tea, taking a walk, listening to music instead of watching something on Netflix… you get the idea 🎼📖📚😴
Take Magnesium Before Bed
It is thought that up to 70-80% of adults are lacking in Magnesium. There are no blood tests to check magnesium levels, so it’s hard to detect, however, if you are often stressed, drink lots of coffee or tea, it’s very likely that you are lacking in this important mineral. Magnesium is needed in the formation of bone, proteins and fatty acid formation. It is essential in activating B vitamins (for energy), calcium and vitamin D (to also help strengthen existing bone).
“Magnesium is an essential mineral that is often lacking in our modern diets,” says nutritional therapist and GTG Expert Zoe Stirling (a consultant for ‘Get the Gloss’ website). “A common cause of this is stress – both emotional and physical. The latter includes foods or stimulants (e.g. sugar, coffee and alcohol), that can put our adrenal glands in ‘fight or flight’ mode. The ‘fight or flight’ response stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenalin, our primary stress hormones. When levels of stress hormones are high, magnesium is depleted and over time this can cause deficiency in some individuals.”
The signs of having low magnesium levels include;
Muscle Cramps & Spasms
Headaches, both tension headaches and migraines
The list goes on really…. Magnesium rich foods should be your first port of call if you think you could be low in the mineral (wholegrain/brown rice, leafy green veggies, nuts and seeds. However, do note that cooking can deplete magnesium levels in foods, so keep them raw if possible or only lightly steam (especially when it comes to veggies). Magnesium also isn’t well absorbed by the body, so again, it’s tricky to get enough. Magnesium is well absorbed by the skin, so having a salt bath which is rich in magnesium is a great idea (find out what other minerals should be in your salt so you get the most out of the formula here)!
I take a magnesium supplement to make sure I am getting enough as I can suffer from really bad headaches otherwise. I buy my magnesium supplements from Australian brand Australian NaturalCare . They have two supplements specifically focused on Mageniusm, Magnesium amino acid chelate, which is easier for healthy people to absorb than some other forms of magnesium, and may be gentler on the stomach. Magnesium Plus on the other hand, is a more ‘complex’ formula containing vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin B6 and maganese. I’ve tried both formulations and find that both ‘versions’ suit me.
Do I find I sleep better after taking a magnesium supplement? I think so. It’s hard to say of course when there are hundreds of other variables at play affecting your sleep, but after taking magnesium before bed for a good solid few months, I can say I get less headaches and sleep better. It a long term benefit for me. Talk to your doctor if you think that taking magnesium might help you!
I’m a big fan of aromatherapy! There’s just something about lighting a candle or oil burner after work, letting the scents work their magic… Lighting candles that smell nice is great (and I do this all the time) however, if you really want to get the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy you need to use essential oils. You can find pure concentrated essential oils, or essential oils blends, which combine a few oils (scents) together. Not all candles use pure essential oils, most are made up of synthetic fragrances so you may want to keep this in mind.
You shouldn’t use essential oils directly on the skin undiluted – however there is a variety of ways you can them! You can either add about 15 drops of the essential oil into a warm bath for a relaxing treat (which isn’t too oily) or make your own scented body oil by adding a few drops of the oil into a carrier oil (e.g. jojoba or argan oil etc.). My favourite way to use them is in an oil burner. Traditional and effective. I add about 5-6 drops into some water and then relax while the oil evaporates, filling the room with a gorgeous soothing scent. The sweet lavender scent in the L’Occitane Relaxing Essential Oil Blend is just perfect. The Relaxing Essential Oil blend is from L’Occitane’s Aromacholgie Collection and they also have a pillow which I really like. It contains lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium oils. It’s slightly woody and ‘deep’, but it’s really comforting. Dusk also so some fantastic oil blends, in particular ‘Soothe‘ which is made up of Lemon Myrtle, Mandarin, Tea Tree, Sandalwood & Fennel. It’s ‘lighter’ than traditional ‘relaxing’ blends and doesn’t contain lavender should you not be a fan.
Some of my essential oil collections ❤️🌸🌱
Think that aromatherapy is all mumbo jumbo? Think again Beauties 🙂 Dr. Nicolette Perry from the Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria in the UK, verified in a study, that aromatherapy helps manage chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. A 2018 research by Western University of Health Sciences, California shows that lavender oil in particular, is excellent tonic for anxiety issues. It’s also been found to treat mild insomnia well. I’m sure we have all heard that lavender is a great relaxant. Other great relaxing scents and oils include, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Bargamot, Orange and Roman Chamomile (if you want to look further into these oils, check out this helpful article by Organic Facts).
Herbal teas remind me of my childhood because my mum had a tea for every occasion and symptom lol! Certain teas will help you sleep and relax more so than others. Excellent teas for inducing sleep include; Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Valerian Root. Just make sure your tea doesn’t contain caffeine (you should be safe with most herbal teas in this regard) 😉🌱🌸
Chamomile has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep. I actually remember drinking Chamomile tea as a child (as a toddler in my bottle). Now I’m thinking that was strategic on my mums part LOL 😒😅 I’m not the biggest fan of Chamomile these days (I’ve had enough already in my lifetime lol…) and I’d pick Lemon Balm over it any day 😉 Lemon balm belongs to the mint family and is found all over the world. It’s been used in Poland since the Middle Ages and it’s thought to act like a sedative. More recent studies have shown a 42% reduction in insomnia symptoms after participants received 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days. Crazy huh! I do like to drink my herbal teas strong (two tea bags in one mug) so it seems the stronger the better… Lemon balm is indeed a bit citrusy, so it cuts out some of the bitterness you can get from herbal teas. The photo below is of lemon balm brewing away 😊
Valerian root can be bought in tea form or in capsules. Scientists don’t actually know why it works, but it’s been said to help with anxiety, headaches and insomnia. However, one theory is that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. When GABA is present in large abundance, it can increase sleepiness. In fact, this the way in which certain anti-anxiety medications like Xanax function.
Do I feel instantly drowsy after drinking ‘sleep inducing tea’? Maybe not, but I feel calm and get better quality sleep I think.
Don’t Eat Sugary Treats Before Bed
This may sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many time I have snacked on chocolate or biscuits whilst reading or watching something in bed (right before sleeping) and I can’t be the only one doing this! When we eat something before bed or very late at night (especially something sweet) our insulin levels peak and this may effect the balance of your hormones. Out of whack hormones mean out of whack skin. A sudden spike in insulin also means a burst of energy. This is not conducive for sleep!
Go to Bed Before Midnight
My mum used to tell me this alllllll the time. And I think she’s right 😏🙃 I do feel a lot more rested if I go to bed before midnight, even compared to falling asleep at 1 or 2am but then sleeping 8-9 hours. It probably doesn’t mess up your routine too much if you go to bed one night at 10pm and then another at 11pm. Anything after 12am is just too much of a difference and messes with our body clocks. A simple tip, yet a very effective tip for better sleep.
That’s it for me Beauties! I hope the above tips are helpful. I am by no means an expert in this field or perfect myself, so here’s to hoping we can all stick to the tips above and get more restful sleep 🙂
Share your tip for getting a better nights rest with us in the comments below!
Goodnight 😘😴🌜Beauty Bee 💫
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