Sleep & Relaxation

Before we settle down to sleep it’s important to create the right environment to induce relaxation and sleep.  Here are my tips on how to achieve this.

The bedroom should be a place of rest, peace and relaxation.  This can be achieved by soft lighting, use of incense, declutter, avoid having computers in the bedroom – keep work to the office/living space, not bedroom; if you have a tv in the bedroom cover with a cloth or similar when, not in use; avoid watching action-packed or ‘edge of seat’ TV shows/films before sleep, select your viewing and reading material to help you relax.  Set your phones/ tablets etc to ‘sleep’ mode. 

Dead Sea Salts:

Bathing before bedtime using Dead Sea Salts is deeply relaxing and promotes restful sleep.  Use a tablespoon in your bath or soak your feet in a bowl with the salts for 20 mins or so an hour before intending to sleep.  Dead Sea Salts contain high ration of Magnesium Chloride which is beneficial for muscles and used regularly is deeply beneficial to general wellness.

Crystals to use to promote sleep:

Select your crystals of choice, cleanse and charge by whatever method you are comfortable with, place under pillow/mattress/bed or on the bedside table.

Selenite – Tranquility and harmony; ideal for bedroom to create a tranquil environment and a calm and clear mind.
Amethyst – Calming, soothing, relaxing – promotes restful sleep
Celestite – Calming and restful; putting the mind at rest from active thoughts; promoting serenity
Lepidolite – Calming for overactive minds; eases stress and creates a sense of security.
Rose Quartz – Calming, caring, nurturing and loving
Sodalite – for rest and relaxation;
Moonstone – to reduce emotional tension enabling the body to fall asleep
Hematite – helps to de-stress and calms worries
Smoky Quartz – to help dispel anxiety

Essential Oils to promote sleep:

Lavender – known for relaxing effects – found to increase slow-wave sleep, slowing heart rate and muscle relaxation
Chamomile – alleviates insomnia by relieving and reducing anxiety
Bergamot – calming effect unlike other citrus oils which are uplifting, lowers heart rate and blood pressure
Clary Sage – natural sedative, shown to reduce levels of the hormone cortisol which often results of stress
Sandalwood – effective in reducing stress and anxiety; has a sedative effect by reducing wakefulness
Ylang Ylang – soothing effect which alleviates stress and promotes sleep – used in Thailand to treat insomnia for years – a recent study showed it to improve quality of sleep
Jasmine – known for helping relieve insomnia; said to be as effective as valium!  A nice way to fall asleep

Incense to aid relaxation:

Jasmine – to help relieve insomnia
Frankincense / Myrrh / Cinnamon – favoured by ancient Egyptians to induce sleep and enhance dreams
Chamomile was the fragrance of choice for Romans who used the scent to relax and drift off to sleep
Vanilla – can act as an anti-depressant – creates a perfect environment for deep restful sleep
Sandalwood – said to ease sleep disturbance and one study shows it to increase Theta brain activity
Rose – relaxing for the body

Foods to avoid before bed:

Cruciferous Veg – Broccoli and Cauliflower – vitamin content is very good, however, these veg contain a large amount of insoluble fibre – taking longer to digest.
Red Meat – high in protein but again, takes longer to digest
Tomato based sauce meals – high acidity can be a cause of morning after heartburn and indigestion. 
Spicy foods – in addition to being notorious for being a cause of heartburn, can also raise your core body temperature.
Cured meats and cheeses – lovely for lunch and picnics, not so great a choice for dinner/supper as they contain Tyramine – an amino acid which makes us more alert.
Dark Chocolate – more an afternoon snack – contains double energy of milk chocolate and the amino acid which makes you more alert.
Coffee – caffeine can remain in your body for several hours after consumption, so refrain from caffeinated drinks in the hours before bedtime.
Alcohol – a glass of red wine may make you feel a little sleepy, however, alcohol is disruptive to your sleep cycle and has a negative effect on later REM stages.
Fizzy drinks – loaded with sugar, leaving you wide awake and cause of restless sleep.
Orange Juice – not ideal at bedtime, due to it being very acidic and sugary.
Water – hydrate during the day, and reduce your water intake in the few hours before you normally go to sleep to avoid your sleep pattern being disturbed due to those trips to the bathroom.

Foods that can help us settle at bedtime:

Bananas – Rich in magnesium and relaxes muscles, also contain serotonin and melatonin which encourage sleep.
Almonds – contain Tryptophan and Magnesium both of which help to naturally reduce muscle and nerve function whilst steadying the heart rate.
Honey – 1 tsp is sufficient to stimulate the release of melatonin in the brain and shut off orexin (which keeps us alert) thereby helping to wind down.
Oats – promotes sleep-inducing melatonin and encourages insulin production.

Suggested bedtime drinks:

Warm milk, Almond milk, Malted milk, Valerian Tea, Decaff Green Tea, Chamomile Tea, Herbal tea with Lemon Balm, Pure Coconut Water.

The above information is not a definitive list, merely my suggestions.  If you have a serious sleep disturbance or prolonged insomnia always consult your doctor.

Sweet dreams to you all.

Liz (Liz Clark)

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