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Guaranteed – as soon as I plan to have an early night and a good 8 hours sleep, I won’t. It’s the sheer pressure of zzz-expectation. I may get to bed at 8pm but I’ll still be wide awake come midnight.

My best remedy for sleep is a pill under the tongue or a hot milk and rum – I know, so rock’n’roll. Both work really effectively. Separately, not together of course.

In an attempt to find a more holistic and natural way to get some shut-eye, I did a little research. Thank you also for your sleepy suggestions, all of which I include below.

Sweet dreams x

Prior to bed:

  • Avoid alcohol. Too much can delay the start of REM sleep and keep you jumping all night long, and not in a good way.
  • Do not eat for at least 2 hours before bedtime. This way your body won’t need to get busy digesting food once you are trying to sleep.
  • A hot shower or bath is perfect for relaxing tense muscles. A drop of lavender will also help induce sleep as it has soporific (sleep-inducing) qualities. A little drop on your pillow can be effective too.
  • Try a little Valerian Root that can assist sleep or Magnesium supplements for calming the nervous system. (I also take this when I fly and it is excellent for feeling drowsy).
  • Sip a warm drink. Chamomile Tea for an overall calming effect or warm milk  that contains Tryptophan, an amino acid that is responsible for increasing the production of serotonin in the body that helps you feel sleepy. Either way, a warm drink will raise your body temperature and in turn, slow your body’s responses inducing some zzz.
  • Keep your room cool and pile on the blankets to moderate body temperature.
  • Read a book. Something fictional and not overly stimulating, so don’t even think about reading off the iPad.
  • Ensure your room is dark, drawing the curtains to block out any light, including moonlight.

What to eat and avoid to get some sleep

  • Avoid spicy food, high-fat meals or sugary sweets.
  • Eat lighter dishes that include Tryptophan. Poultry especially turkey, oats, figs and sesame seeds are all rich sources. A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk is ideal. As is a turkey-based dish, yoghurt with oats or figs or almond butter on crackers.
  • Oatmeal is high in melatonin and by adding honey or maple syrup you are bumping up the simple carboydrate quota and inducing serotonin to help you sleep.
  • Choose foods that are packed with magnesium that will help unwind your nervous system. Try a banana (which is also rich in melatonin) or a handful of nuts.
  • Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc which is also said to improve sleep.
  • Holistic Online says that lettuce contains an “opium-related substance combined with traces of the anticramping agent hyoscyarnin” to promote healthy sleep. So make like a rabbit… I mean who knew?

Still starry-eyed? Check out this great article on the Five Best Sleep Tracking Gadgets and Apps. Perhaps you could peruse over a soothing, sleep-inducing milk drink….

Dreamy Night Time Drink

(via allrecipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2-4 drops vanilla essence
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Method

  • Heat milk then add honey, few drops of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
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