You’ve probably heard it before, so we won’t bore you with the details about why getting enough sleep is good for you. We all know that we should do it, but life stuff can make it hard. Having kids to look after, a partner that snores, stressing over the state of *vague gesture in the air* all of this stuff.
Getting enough sleep is a real struggle nowadays. Not getting enough sleep at night can lead to anxiety, stress, add to your hangriness and affect your health.
There are many factors that affect our sleep, like the foods we eat, unconformable sleeping environment, and the activities that we do… or don’t do.
According to the UK's Mental Health Foundation, sleep helps our bodies catch up on everything - which is one of the reasons it's so important.
Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.
It's not clear how long humans can survive without sleep. The longest recorded time without sleep is approximately 264 hours (don't try it) - just over 11 days. But you don't need to go that long before the effects of being sleep deprived become apparent.
Naturally, there will be nights where sleep just refused to come to bed. That is okay. If you are persistently troubled by problems with falling or staying asleep, you should visit your doctor to check for underlying problems, though.
What we can do every night, though, is to make sure that we prepare our bodies as best we can for sleep.
Other than making sure your bedroom is set up to be a sleep hub, there are other super simple things you can do to nudge your body in the right direction.
A nighttime routine can be just as important as getting in your 10 000 steps a day – even when working from home. While routine isn’t exactly practical to follow to the letter for everyone – parents with young ones, we feel you – it doesn’t have to be an elaborate extravaganza. You don’t need to spend your nights massaging your temples with lavender balm or practising lymph drainage with those suction cups while also doing a nightly yoga routine.
Seriously, who are those people?
Our bodies respond amazingly to what we put into it, though. And there are a few all-natural remedies that can help prod it along to get to sleep. When we say natural we don’t mean the vodka naturally made from potatoes. We might mean a natural herb that can be inhaled, if that sort of thing floats your boat, you’re an adult – make your own decisions.
Beyond that, though, there are some night time drinks (no, do not reach for the gin, Karen) that can help your body wind down. You can easily sip on these even while a toddler is trying to convince you that they can indeed stay up all night or trying to interrogate you on whether sandwiches would be mammals or fish if they were actual animals.
Wait, you’ve never had to debate the humble sandwich’s imaginary species with a toddler? Lucky you.
That debate might be enough to knock you straight out, but if you’re looking to start building a night time routine to drift off easily, here are some natural drinks to try at night.
Tea has long been considered a natural relaxant. More than that, this drink comes in different varieties. Lavender and chamomile tea helps to relax and calm your senses. Lavender contains a relaxing aroma which you can pair with that lavender balm we mentioned earlier. Decaffeinated green tea, on the other hand, helps reduce stress and promotes sleepiness. Make sure that it is decaffeinated; if your body tends to respond to caffeine by perking up.
Having warm milk before bedtime has been a ritual to most people since they were kids. This one might be all in the mind though.
There hasn’t actually been that much concrete evidence to support the idea that milk really induces sleepiness, but people have sworn by this calcium-filled drink for centuries. Nobody knows where the ritual began, but it’s been with us for ages.
What we do know is that milk contains two hormones that can help aid sleep.
- L-tryptophan: Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin in your brain.
- Melatonin: Melatonin is also available as a supplement to help with sleep problems or jetlag, but it’s a natural hormone that works with our body’s circadian rhythms and is believed to be regulated by light.
For those who are lactose intolerant, almond milk or soy milk can be your alternatives. Both kinds of milk reportedly promote sleepiness and help calm the mind. No Karen, you can’t have the gin if you are lactose intolerant.
You can also spice it up, quite literally. A masala chai can make it two in one from our list of DIY drinks to help you doze.
Tart cherry juice
A study done by Russel Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center found that cherries contain a significant amount of melatonin. As you’ve just learned, class – melatonin helps promote sleep and can also help improve sleep quality.
A further two studies done by the Journal of Medicinal Food and the Journals of Gerontology both showed the same results-- that this drink helps regulate a person’s sleeping habits.
A tropical thirst quencher in summer, coconut water also contains magnesium and potassium which contributes in the relaxation of the muscles, which is good when you can’t get a massage because of this whole social distancing thing.
Surprisingly, this hot-weather treat can also be your go-to-drink to help you sleep better. Bananas are a popular source of magnesium and potassium which helps relax the muscles. Whip it up with some milk and almond butter and sip. Of course you can also just eat the actual banana rather than go through all of that rigmarole. Remember if you’re calorie counting that just because you’re using it as medical doesn’t mean it’s calorie-free.
Like This Kinda Thing?
Okay, just make sure to sign up for our list!