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How to Get a Better Night's Sleep

How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Prioritize and get better sleep

Sleep profoundly affects our quality of life, and is as important as diet and exercise. Adults need 7-9 hours sleep each night.  Rather than staying up late studying, watching TV, checking your Facebook page, or catching up on your emails, resist the temptation, go to bed and get a better sleep.  You’ll be happier, healthier and more productive the next day and that first step towards better sleeping habits will set the stage for better health.

Establish a sleeping pattern

The human body is designed to naturally follow the rhythms of nature. When darkness falls, the brain begins to release the restful hormone melatonin which helps with the sleep cycle. Electric lights, TVs and other modern conveniences short-circuit our natural bio-rhythms. Putting yourself on a sleep schedule that corresponds with the time you have to wake up for work or school is a realistic way to tell your body when it’s time to sleep. Most of us require 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you wake up groggy, it’s probably because you’re falling short of sleep needs. Try going to bed a little earlier and turn off all the lights to get a better sleep.

Exercise helps to get better sleep

Regular exercise is important for a variety of reasons; one of them being that exercise raises endorphins’ levels. The “feel good” hormones, endorphins relieve stress and induce relaxation. However, heavy exercise also releases adrenaline, so instead of going to the gym at night, get your exercise in the morning or afternoon. Cortisol levels are highest in the morning so make the most of this and use up your cortisol levels then to reduce general stress levels throughout the day. Exercises like yoga and Pilates are ideal and a great way to unwind.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking

Caffeine continues to work for up to six hours after you drink a cup of coffee. If you drink an afternoon cuppa at 4pm, it will still be affecting you at 10pm and can make getting to sleep difficult. Alcohol does make you drowsy, but it prevents restful sleep, causing “sleep fragmentation,” a condition in which your brainwave patterns “bounce” from deep sleep to the waking or near waking state repeatedly. Nicotine is a stimulant and that “relaxing last cigarette before bed” will affect your sleep quality. The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. A naturopath/ herbalist can suggest herbal tea blends that are best for relaxation before bed.

Unwind before bedtime

Our lives are so busy we find it hard to keep up with all the things we have to do. If you spend your evenings catching up on your bills, worrying about something that you put in the back of your mind at work or even watching a suspenseful or violent movie on TV, you’re creating stress at just the time you should be putting the day’s stresses behind you. Make evening a time of relaxation, consider treating yourself to a relaxation massage, have a warm bath, have an early night with a good book or your favourite magazine, listen to music, meditate or doing something else that you enjoy. There’s plenty of time tomorrow to face the world and if you wake up refreshed, you’ll see everything in a brighter light and be more productive, too.

Get some help to get your sleep on track

It can sometimes be difficult to identify the causes of your sleep disruption. There may be emotional, environmental, diet or lifestyle factors impacting on your sleep quality. There may be a mineral deficiency, neurotransmitter imbalance, thyroid issue or other possible health factors. Your may need some herbal or nutritional support to re-establish good sleep patterns. As a naturopath I can help you to assess the causes of your sleep problems and help to get your sleep patterns back on track.

If you are having problems getting a good night’s sleep, call for an appointment or to find out more…0403755584

Angela McTaggart
Qualified Clinical Naturopath
Brunswick Naturopathy

Angela McTaggart - Naturopath, Brunswick Naturopathy