Want to improve your sleep?
We are constantly being told how beneficial getting a good night’s sleep can be. From improving energy levels, supporting the immune system, regulating hormone levels, reducing stress, the list goes on and on. While knowing how good sleep is for us, it doesn’t always mean sleep can be easily achieved. For a lot of us, day-to-day stress can have a massive impact on our sleep, maybe you are a shift worker and you have an irregular body clock, some of us may suffer from a form of insomnia, while others may be impacted from sleep conditions such as sleep apnea. There is a wide variety of issues that can impact how much sleep we have and the quality of sleep we are getting.
Have you heard of ‘REM’ sleep? REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, your eyes move quickly in different directions. This does not occur during non-REM sleep. Whether you are getting REM sleep or non-REM sleep will determine your sleep quality and how your sleep will impact your overall health.
When first falling asleep you will be in a light state of non-REM sleep. At this stage you are relaxed but can be easily woken if disturbed, you may twitch or experience sudden jerks that cause you to wake. When your heart rate begins to slow you fall into a deeper sleep that prepares you for REM sleep. Approximately half of the sleep you get each night is in this state of rest. Falling further into the next stage of your sleep cycle, you become harder to wake and you are in your most restorative stage of sleep. Your body begins to repair and rebuild cells, tissues, muscles, bone. Finally REM sleep occurs approximately ninety minutes into your sleep cycle. This is often referred to as the dream state, as this is the stage where you are most likely to remember your dreams. REM is essential to the health of your neurochemistry in your brain and nervous system. It regulates hormones, reduces stress and anxiety and supports your overall mood. The benefits to achieving a complete sleep cycle each night affects every area of your health. Reducing inflammation, enhancing memory, supporting the cardiovascular system and much more.
So how can we improve our sleep?
- Morning routine. If you are able, get up at the same time each morning. Set your alarm for the same time each morning and don’t lay in bed once you wake scrolling on your phone. Get up and prepare for your day. If you’re a shift worker and this is not something you can achieve, try creating a bedtime routine that you do an hour before falling asleep every night (see more below).
- Get morning light. Light is the major controller of our natural body clocks. Having a regular light exposure in the morning will help the body to understand when it should be awake and when it should be asleep. Open the blinds, eat your breakfast in the sun or take an early morning walk outside for at least 20 minutes.
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex. Reducing the amount of time you spend in your bed when you are awake will help your brain to associate being in bed as a time you should be asleep.
- Night time routine. If you are able, go to bed at the same time each night. An hour before bed, reduce all screen time or excessive blue light exposure. Drink a cup of Dream tea to help put you in a state of relaxation that is going to prepare your mind and body for sleep.
What your Dream blend can do to support your sleep?
This beautiful ritual of drinking tea before bed will help you over time to recognise this action as a state of relaxation. Dream is a collection of floral flavoured botanicals with therapeutic benefits to support your sleep. Dream is made up of chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, rose and lavender.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is widely regarded as a sleep-inducer. The sedative effects may be attributed to the flavonoid, apigenin. Apigenin binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain that decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) naturally enhances your levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by inhibiting the enzyme GABA transaminase. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter within the central nervous system. This helps to support a happy and positive mood and reduces stress and anxiety. Lemon balm has been found to reduce anxiety related insomnia.
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been found to increase the duration of REM sleep, reduce anxiety and stress. The use of passionflower has been shown to reduce tension and headaches.
- Rose (Rosa) with its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities assists with the body’s healing during sleep. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) rose is used to regulate Qi, or life energy, helping to support overall wellbeing.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has well known calming properties that help reduce stress and anxiety. The volatile oils found in lavender may have a relaxing effect on the mind and body. Research has shown that drinking lavender in tea may help to improve sleep quality.
If you would like to try our Gaia Botanica Dream blend click here.
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