There’s nothing worse than lying awake at night running through the day’s tribulations, unable to drift off. Sleep regularity, as we discuss here, is crucial to maintaining good health and emotional wellbeing. Stress, medications and hormonal changes are just some of the factors that can result in sleep disruption.
We can do a number to ensure better sleep hygiene, including maintaining a consistent wake-up time, being active, and getting out in the sun as much as possible. Over the counter medications and sedatives help many to get a good night’s sleep, and surely have their place among remedies for insomnia. Before pharmaceuticals, people looked to plants as a way of helping them to sleep – and many swear by these remedies today!
Not only are cherries delicious, they’re also rich in the sleep-hormone melatonin. Melatonin thricely helps regulate your circadian rhythms, blood pressure and body temperature, all of which promise a good night’s rest! When not in season, you can purchase concentrated cherry juice in most health-food shops, and this can be diluted in warm water to make a pleasant drink.
St. John’s Wort
A number of physical and lifestyle ills can contribute to insomnia, but the most stubborn and most prevalent cause is probably psychological grievances. St. John’s Wort is another flower that can be steeped in water to make tea, or purchased in pill form. Although it has not gone through the rigorous testing that chemical antidepressants undergo, the NHS confirms that a significant number of studies have shown it to be a successful – and safe – treatment for mild to moderate mood disorders. So, it’s certainly a remedy that’s worth pursuing if you’re a chronic worrier, or suffering from something more serious.
One of the most evocative and overlooked senses, smell can profoundly influence our mind and bodies. Lavender is often called upon to aid sleep, with some stuffing pillows with the flower tops and others applying drops on pillows. If the smell isn’t to your taste – some have particularly adverse reactions to it – consider trying frankincense or clary sage.
It’s with good reason that chamomile tea is a popular before bedtime drink. Chamomile flowers are thought to have a mild sedative effect when ingested and have been used to help fretful sleepers for centuries. Now, a study published in Journal of Advanced Nursing has given credence to the power of these flowers: participants who took chamomile tea before bed showed improved symptoms relating to sleep, including reduced fatigue and depressive feelings.