If you did not have a good sleep last night, join the queue. It seems Australians are suffering from chronic tiredness and it’s getting worse, rather than better, The Australian “Sleep Health Foundation” found that 1 in 3 Australians admitted to experiencing poor sleep which negatively impacted their waking life (RN Economics of Sleep Podcast: 19/1/17). Interestingly, ten years ago statistics showed 1 in 4 admitting to this problem which indicates poor sleep and the ramifications on our health and wellness is a national problem that’s getting worse.
How much Sleep do we Need?
According to David Hillman from the Sleep Health Foundation, the average adult needs 7 ½ – 8 hours’ sleep every night. Two to three percent of us can manage with less than 6 hours sleep but there are a whole lot more of us who think we can train ourselves to function well with less sleep but what it really means is that you’re in a ‘sleep-restricted’ state where you’re not as crisp and efficient as you would otherwise be, you don’t feel quite as well, you’re not as vigilant as you would otherwise be and you are more irritable than you would be if you had an optimum amount of sleep.
Our Sleep is under Pressure
For many of us, our sleep is in jeopardy as we work longer hours with increasing pressure in our lives. We are sacrificing precious sleep hours to accommodate all we need to do for work, all we need to do at home and with family as well as attending the many social engagements that fill our calendars. And on top of this we will also sacrifice sleep for the increased trend of social media usage.
3 Ways Social Media is affecting our Sleep
- The blue light emitting from our devices is the wrong wave length from sleep. The blue wave length is particularly arousing and is good at suppressing melatonin
- Social media engagement is occupying the time you probably should be spending asleep.
- The content of the social media is quite often arousing, so it is not a wind-down period preparing for sleep but a wind-up engaging time
So be mindful and intentional about the times you use social media as your sleep patterns can be compromised by the light, the content of the media and the precious time you’re spending on the media instead of sleeping.
Sleep is a Fundamental, Non-negotiable Need
One of the most important building blocks of vitality resides in the healing power of sleep. As humans we need to recharge, we don’t have a choice! When we sleep we’re exchanging our time for energy and our work and life benefit from all the energy we can possibly bring it. According to Chris Bailey from ‘The Productivity Project’, for every hour of sleep you miss out on you lose 2 hours of productivity the next day.
Sleep achieves the deepest levels of metabolic calm
It allows your body to realign everything from basic chemistry through to your thoughts and emotions. It rejuvenates your body chemistry for renewed energy, recharges your immune system and heals your body and helps process, sort and store everything you’ve learnt, felt or experienced during the day. There are a multitude of health issues that are brought about or potentiated by a lack of good-quality sleep.
Insomnia and poor sleep impacts our whole health and wellbeing
While we count the ZZZ’s our immune system regenerates as do our hormones and endocrine system. Sleep also helps us to regulate and maintain our weight, and deep sleep regulates our growth hormone, a potent fat-burner which helps build new, strong, healthy skin and muscle tissue. So continued poor sleep leads to early ageing, memory loss, impaired brain function and mental health, low libido and weight gain. Sleep also stimulates growth, proper brain development, memory and alertness and is therefore very important for children.
A Little help from the Herbal World to get your Sleep Back on Track
Our favourite herbs and nutrients for compromised sleep and insomnia
1. Valerian is the ‘emperor herb’ for sleeping. It is a muscle relaxant and tonic to the nervous system as well as fantastic for anxiety. Valerian is the herb that will help you get off to sleep
2. Passionflower is a beautiful herb traditionally used for anxiety, irritability and insomnia. Whilst valerian helps you to get to sleep, passionflower helps your stay asleep. In situations where you may experience broken sleep (eg shift workers, lactating mothers, jet lag) passionflower is fantastic as it has the capacity to deepen sleep so your experience a more effective and better quality sleep
3. Hops is another sleep herb used to nourish the nervous system whilst you are asleep.
Traditionally sleep herbs are used together to relieve insomnia, thus the herbs are used ‘synergistically’ – the herbs have a much more powerful effect if taken together rather than if taken on their own.
Other Herbs Traditionally used for Insomnia are:
4. Skullcap is very restorative to the whole nervous system and is great for anxiety, nervous tension and nervous exhaustion. A wonderful herb to include if insomnia is due to stress, anxiety or emotional upheaval
5. Ziziphyus is a Chinese Herb traditionally used for those who are highly stressed leading to anxiety, palpitations and insomnia
6. Magnolia: a combination of Magnolia and Ziziphus have been found to be effective for the improvement of sleep difficulties associated with restlessness, stress or anxiety
Cautions and Contraindications
Herbal medicines should not be mixed with any prescribed sedatives. Please check for contraindications with our professional staff in-store.
Nutrients For Optimal Sleep
1. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and when taken at night can help induce sleep
2. Vitamin B-complex: taking a Vitamin B complex in the morning will ensure the body has adequate amounts of B vitamins to regulate sleep
3. Melatonin: only available in the homeopathic form, melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythms
Click here for our more detailed advice on Causes, Symptoms, Naturopathic treatment and Diet and Lifestyle Tips to treat insomnia and sleep disturbances.
“Because it’s Not a Rehearsal”
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