Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Work with your body clock.
Your body is a magnificent machine that works on rhythms and cycles; some of these let you know when it is time to sleep and when to wake up, but they rely on various triggers, and if they don't get the information they need or they get confusing data, things can go wrong.
Your circadian rhythm is your bodies internal clock, and it gets clues about what time it is, from temperature and levels of light. If you get a morning dose of sunlight, you can trigger the release of serotonin - the 'happy hormone' - making you nice and awake in the day and needed for the production of the sleep-inducing hormone Melatonin later on.
Melatonin levels rise naturally in your body two hours before your bedtime. To ensure you are working with your body and fall asleep with ease, you should avoid things that interfere with this process. Light from screens can trick your senses into thinking that it is still daytime, and stress from exciting TV, computer games, or even the news can trigger the stress hormone Cortisol. Melatonin and Cortisol should be on opposite sides; if these get out of balance, sleep will be affected.
Avoid all caffeine after lunch…..
That includes chocolate and tea, even green tea! Decaf still contains some caffeine, so if you are having difficulties dropping off, better to avoid it all. Caffeine lingers in your system for longer than you think (it has a half-life of 4-6 hours) and can trigger your body to release adrenaline and Cortisol - when as we know, we should avoid once our melatonin levels start to rise before bedtime.
Another indicator we have to let out body know its sleep time is Adenosine. Adenosine is created and builds up in the brain while you are awake, where it binds to special receptors. The longer you are awake, the more Adenosine binds, which causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. This makes sense as the longer you are up, the more tired you should be. However, when you consume coffee, the caffeine passes through the blood-brain barrier into your brain and attaches itself to poor old Adenosine's binders, so instead of slowing down your nerve cell activity - it speeds up, giving you that caffeine high.
Even when you do not feel the effects of caffeine in your system, they still might be working against your natural rhythms to help you sleep.
Clear your space of clutter
Having a lovely made-up bed awaiting you can bring you more benefit than that would first appear. Firstly having reminders around you of work, bills to pay or other things (like tidying up) that you haven't accomplished yet can make you feel stressed and raise your levels of Cortisol (remember those ones? The stress hormone that gets you wired not lovely and mellow with your rising Melatonin), whereas having a tidy space with everything organised can produce Seratonin (the happy hormone), which is triggered when we feel proud of an accomplishment. Making your bed tidy and welcoming is undoubtedly something you should pat yourself on the back for.
Have a Magnesium bath.
Magnesium is a trace element that we should have in our bodies, but the problem is that many of us are deficient. We would usually get magnesium from leafy greens and meat, over-farming has stripped the soil from a lot of its goodness, so the minerals are not reaching us. The increase in dairy consumption also affects magnesium absorption in our bodies, and it is no longer added to the water. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a multitude of issues including, depression and insomnia.
The best news is that you can absorb magnesium in bath water with added Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts through your skin and hair follicles, so that relaxing bath time might be the medicine you need.
The soothing warm water can also help relax muscles dispersing that pesky Cortisol and raise your body temperature; it will drop when you get out of the bath, another trigger to your circadian rhythm that is is bedtime!
Candle and cosy time.
You've had a lovely bath, entered your calm and clutter-free bedroom and then worry of getting into bed and not being able to get to sleep hits. Undoing all your good work by making you stressed out and increasing those cortisol levels. Instead of going down that path, let's change things around and think about what it is like when the alarm goes off in the morning. How you are cosy and comfy and would love just ten more minutes? Well now you can, you can have as much time as you need…. let go the pressure of trying to get to sleep and enjoy.
Lighting a candle, flooding the space with a relaxing, sleep-inducing scent and listening to instrumental music can encourage the flow of serotonin and see off stress levels, so if the peace and quiet is not calming you down, distract some of your senses with chilled-out vibes.
We have created our Sweet Dreams Gift box to help you or a loved on drift off with ease.... Find out more here. I am not a scientist or an expert; all this information is available in many studies online. This article is my interpretation of facts with the hope of inspiring you to do more reading, research and learn about this fascinating world.