I’m a natural night owl and after years of working jobs that started in the afternoon or evening, my body clock tends to really resist an early bedtime. Add into that mix the fact that as soon as I turn off the light, I start thinking about things, and suddenly I’m wide awake… Having a good night’s sleep is the bedrock of health, so it’s really important to not only be able to sleep but to have that quality sleep. Here’s what’s working for me.
The three key things are these:
Magnesium, Melatonin and Tara Brach’s podcast.
Now, clearly you need to be aware of taking vitamins, how they may interact with medication you already take, and whether they’re right for you. So, if you’re not sure, talk to your doctor or the pharmacist. Don’t just take my advice.
- Magnesium Citrate is sometimes jokingly called Mother Nature’s chill pill. It’s good for you for a few reasons, but taken in the evening, it helps your muscles relax. You honestly only need the tiniest amount, but because you are more relaxed, you will sleep more deeply. There are different kinds, but the liquid magnesium citrate is the most absorbable and works the best for me.
- Melatonin is a hormone we naturally create in our bodies, but if you work shifts or have worked evenings you may not be producing enough of it. You also produce less of it as you get older, making sleep harder to fall into. To put it simply, Melatonin is the hormone your body produces that actually puts you to sleep. So it’s a great one if you’re tired but have problems nodding off or staying asleep. This one comes in a huge variety of dosages, I usually take 1/4 of a mg, so that’s a quarter of the pill in the bottle above. I try to fall asleep naturally, so that I’m not dependant on this, because there are studies that suggest that taking this one all the time can encourage your body to stop producing it’s own natural hormone. But honestly, it’s a life saver for me.
- Tara Brach is a psychologist and meditation teacher with the calmest, most relaxing voice. Her podcast is great because it’s very relaxed and healing, and also often has a meditation in it, so I put it on at bedtime and her voice helps me relax into sleep. I find listening to something helps me to not think about the day ahead or the day behind me. So that works. But since she talks about some really great things, you mind find yourself learning to healing along the way too. Take a look HERE or HERE to listen.
Sleep is so important for your body and mind to rejuvenate. Not getting good sleep leads to skin looking aged, and your mind burning out, your temper being short, and not processing memory properly. I think sometimes knowing that makes it harder to fall asleep because it adds pressure. And sometimes we don’t have enough time, as though sleep is something that we can afford to sacrifice, in the face of all the demands made on you. But if you can, try the above, it will help make sure that the sleep you get is a lot deeper, and try to make sure you get a solid 7 to 9 hours.
Also, I honestly find that not using my laptop or phone for anything work related helps while I’m in bed. I do sometimes watch a movie in bed, but with a yellow filter and try to avoid any upsetting stories. That’s not great before bedtime! But generally, bed is for sleep (and, um, one other thing) and it helps your mind to associate it with sleep if that’s all you do there. Camomile tea and lavender sachets in your pillows, as well as regularly cleaned sheets and a nice set of sleepwear are all great too. But if you have problems sleeping, the above three might do the trick.