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  • Writer's pictureAbby Prendergast

7 Tips for Quality Sleep

Many of us under-estimate the importance of a good night’s sleep however a chronic lack of sleep is a fast-track way to lower our immunity and reduce our innate resilience to colds, flu’s and infections.

With the busy, demanding nature of modern life, sleep-disturbances exacerbated by a fast-paced lifestyle and high stress levels preventing deep relaxation are issues I often see in clinic. During sleep, the body undergoes vital processes of restoration and repair, helping us to recover from the activities and stress of our day. These processes are essential in regulating inflammation, targeting infection and supporting a healthy immune response.

If sleep is de-prioritised we end up losing out on this essential rejuvenating process, which over time increases our vulnerability to more infections and more stress, and so the cycle continues.

Of course, there are numerous reasons why we may experience poor sleep, including hormone imbalances, lifestyle habits such as eating late at night, drinking excess caffeine during the day or spending too much time looking at bright screens in the evening, to name just a few.

Naturopathic and Herbal treatments to support healthy sleep focus on taking a holistic view of the individual in order to build healthy habits and address imbalances as appropriate to the person.

Ideally, for adults between the ages of 18-65, we should be aiming for a good 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you already have an existing health condition then this becomes even more imperative.

The following are some of my top tips to enhance quality and quantity of sleep:

1. Exercise and be active during the day to support hormone balance, promote feel-good endorphins and reduce cortisol levels

2. Reduce screen time in the evenings, wind down at night with low lighting or even candle light to help regulate your body’s production of melatonin, an essential hormone involved in maintaining our circadian rhythm

3, Enjoy relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile, Lime flower, Passionflower or Lemon balm in the late afternoon/early evening and avoid drinking alcohol late at night

4. Meditate, practice gentle yoga or choose another relaxing activity such as a warm bath with lavender essential oil and Epsom salts before bed

5. Avoid eating late at night. Ideally have your last meal of the day 3 hours before bedtime so your body isn’t busy trying to digest when you need to be resting

6. Keep your bedroom as a sanctuary and keep work-related tasks to separate areas of the house if you can

7. Try to keep to a regular bedtime and time to rise each day to help your body find its natural rhythm

By focusing on good quality sleep and introducing a few of these practices into your daily life, you will be supporting your body in its work to keep you resilient, happy and functioning at your best.

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