For productivity and health, it is important to get a good night’s sleep. Today we will discuss 3 H’s that can help obtain better sleep:
Hygiene Sleep Hygiene is the simply the habits or practices for good sleep. Here are a few practices to incorporate:
- Put down the phone. Today’s technology helps keep us connected, informed, and productive, but using phones and other devices before bed can interfere with our bodies normal, healthy, hormone cycle for sleep. At least an hour before bed, put away all devices and begin other routines for bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Darkness will trigger the Pineal Gland that it is time for sleep, releasing the sleep hormone Melatonin.
- Have a regular time to go to bed and get up the following morning.
Dehydration can contribute to anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking ½ oz. of water per pound of body weight. Be sure to drink early enough in the day to avoid the need to eliminate during the night.
Two types of herbs that can be beneficial for restful sleep are Nervines and Adaptogens. Nervines are herbs that have actions on the nervous system. Relaxing Nervines help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for our “rest and digest” state among other actions, and to calm the sympathetic system which has the general action to mobilize the body’s resources under stress by inducing the flight or flight response. Some great Nervines are:
- Hops—Help relieve mental strain and worry
- Passion Flower—Helps calm mental chatter
- Skullcap—Soothes the nervous system
Adaptogens are also beneficial for restful sleep due to their ability to reduce the output of stress hormones by affecting the hypothalamus/pituitary/ adrenal or HPA axis in the glandular system. These actions help to mediate the stress response and helps the body maintain a normal function under mental, physical, or emotional stress. Some great Adaptogenic herbs are:
- Ashwangandha—helps reduce stress and inflammation
- Eleuthero-helps reduce stress and enhances immunity
- Holy Basil-helps protect the heart from stress