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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 hasΒ 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 Β that contains Tryptophan, an amino acid thatΒ is responsible for increasing the production of serotonin in the body that helps you feel sleepy.Β 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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