Over the last 12 months the pandemic has had an effect on us all in many different ways, but since March 2020 there has been a sharp rise in sleep problems seeing prescriptions for sleeping pills go up more than 50% and rising by 30% in the under 18’s!
But it’s not just the pandemic that has affected our sleep patterns, over the past few decades, both sleep quality and quantity has declined because of the way life is in the 21st century and poor sleep has immediate negative effects on our hormones, exercise performance and brain function, but of course we know all of this don’t we?
What can we do to get a better night’s sleep?
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do and making a few lifestyle changes can really help.
Get steady but regular exercise outside as much as possible, daylight helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy which helps to improve daytime energy which in turn helps to improve your sleep quality at night.
Try to keep to a consistent bedtime, our body clocks thrive on routine so if you have changed your bedtime routine then try to move it slowly back every few days by 15 minutes. This will soon get your sleep pattern back on track.
An hour before bedtime switch off all devices, the blue light from these devices reduces your natural sleep hormone melatonin which tricks our body into thinking it’s still daytime. Also eating late at night can impact on both your sleep quality and the natural release of melatonin.
Don’t overdo the stimulants like wine and coffee. Research has found that drinking coffee up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality, because this is how long the caffeine will stay in your body.
Get a massage, did you know regular massage sessions have been found to decrease depression, anxiety and improve sleep. This is due to the release of serotonin, a compound present in blood platelets and serum, which constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter.
Can essential oils help?
Many other factors can be causing us to have a bad night’s sleep, cramps, hormonal changes, stress, aches, pains and brain chat and Lavender which is best known for its sleeping properties can help with all of these conditions. In fact, studies have shown Lavender oil used as a sleep aid showed great improvement in sleep and fewer trips to the toilet during the night (Azri et al 2010)
Bergamot has many different properties in relation to sleep, it can help with colic/difficult indigestion problems, insomnia, can stop itching from psoriasis and due to its sedative properties, it can help calm the central nervous system.
Geranium has anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative, anxiety-reducing, and muscle-relaxing properties. It also facilitates blood circulation and eases breathing.
Geranium has been reported one of the most effective herbal essences for reducing menstrual-related anxiety and disturbed sleep from hot sweats, cramps and bad dreams.
Geranium oil is able to help calm and relax, bringing on a feeling of well-being. Used in the bath before bedtime can encourage a good night’s sleep.
When using essential oils always remember to get them from a reputable company.
With following a few of my suggestions above I hope your bedtime will be positive and relaxing!