How are you sleeping? Are you often restless in the night and have difficulty getting a good seven or eight hours of restful sleep leaving you tired and irritable the following day? According to the Sleep Foundation in Australia, 1 in 3 people have at least mild insomnia and ‘33 to 45 per cent of adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights, leaving them to face the new day with fatigue, irritability and other side effects of sleep deprivation’.
There are many reasons why you may be suffering from insomnia. These range from going to bed hungry, to excessive caffeine intake, changes in routine, stress and anxiety, the effects of aging and frequent visits to the bathroom during the night. If any of these sound familiar, we’ve put together a few tips to help you get the restorative sleep your body needs to function and stay healthy.
The nutrient tryptophan, the hormones serotonin and melatonin are the key elements that help promote sleep. Raw honey contains tryptophan and because eating raw honey only raises blood sugar level slightly, this controlled rise of insulin causes tryptophan to enter the brain and there it gets converted into serotonin. You need to be in the dark for serotonin to be converted into melatonin.
5 ways raw honey can help you get a good night’s sleep
- Take a teaspoon or more of delicious silky smooth raw honey and eat it straight from the spoon. Pure raw, untreated honey is believed to be the best food for glycogen storage as it contains the ideal one to one ratio of fructose to glucose. When taken before bed it is able to provide sufficient glycogen storage to fuel the liver, ease stress hormones and help us get a restful night's sleep.
- Milk and raw honey before bed should send you off into a deep slumber. The bioactive peptides in milk aid sleep. You can add a dash of cinnamon to spice it up and it is also good for inducing sleep. If you like nutmeg you can blend ½ teaspoon of powdered nutmeg with a pinch of cinnamon powder, one teaspoon of raw honey and water and form a paste. Take a cup of warm milk and pour over the mixture. Stir well and sip it before you hit the hay. Saffron maybe one of the most expensive spices on the planet but it is also good for insomnia and contains high levels of serotonin. Take three to four strands of saffron and soak them in a cup of warm milk and raw honey. Sip this warm drink every day before you go to bed.
- Herbal teas like ginger or chamomile are a soothing drink before bedtime and can be a nice antidote to long nights counting sheep. Chamomile contains apigenin that gives a mild sedative affect and can help calm the body. Raw honey goes particularly well with both these teas.
- Oats are a grain rich in melatonin so a regular dose of porridge for breakfast is a healthy option to introduce into your daily routine. You can also soak oats overnight in apple juice and have cold as a snack before bedtime with a delicious drizzle of raw honey.
- Apple cider vinegar combined with raw honey is loaded with amino acids that relieve the body from fatigue and so helps you get a good quality natural sleep. As mentioned before, raw honey raises the insulin levels that release serotonin and so promotes sleep. Take a glass of warm water and mix two teaspoons each of raw honey and organic apple cider vinegar to it. Drink it before you make your way to bed and sweet dreams will hopefully follow.
More ways to combat insomnia
Banana contains melatonin, tryptophan, magnesium and serotonin, so they are great for getting a high amount of carbohydrate to make you sleepy. Simply eat a banana before going to bed or try a banana smoothie an hour before your bedtime and add a drop of raw honey for good measure.
Eugenol is a natural oily substance that is found in lemon balm and other plants like basil, cinnamon and clove oil and it acts as a numbing agent and so aids relaxation and sleep. Mix two to three teaspoons of lemon balm to a cup of boiling water to make a herbal tea. Steep it for a few minutes and sip it before bedtime.
I was surprised to learn that lettuce contains a sleep inducing property called lectucarium. Take two lettuce leaves and boil them in two cups of water for 5 minutes. Wait until it cools down a bit, and then strain it and add raw honey. Drink a cup of lettuce tea at least half an hour before you go to bed and it may help you to sleep like a baby.
Lavender and other essential oils
Lavender is believed to slow down your nervous system so a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow aids a good night’s sleep. Or take a hot bath a couple of hours before going to sleep and it will help to relax the body. Jasmine and rosemary are also thought to be effective.
Relax before you go to bed
Breathing exercises and meditation along with yoga can help to relax the body and mind.
Preparation for sleep
Sleep hygiene is a series of practices and habits which help you to have a good night's sleep and be alert and wakeful during the day. It's about preparing your mind and body for bedtime and creating the optimum, comfortable environment in your bedroom.
- Make sure your room is quiet and dark.
- Shut down technical devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets a couple of hours before you go to bed. Blue light from phones reduces the secretion of melatonin and can affect your sleep patterns. Try to keep all devices out of the bedroom.
- Have dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Try to limit snacks and food leading up to bedtime and only eat foods low in protein and high in good carbohydrates.
- Listen to soft music an hour before you go to bed and it will relax the mind and hopefully send you into a deep sleep.
These are all recommended natural remedies to combat mild insomnia. If you suffer from insomnia over a prolonged period of time seek advice from a clinical or medical professional.
Let us know what works for you.
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