Struggling to get an adequate amount of sleep regularly is something that so many people experience. If this is true for you, then making an effort to enjoy better sleep is something you should always prioritise. This is because a lack of sleep can impact your life in so many ways.
Data from the US shows that at least 30 percent of the population experiences trouble sleeping, with similar numbers reported in the UK. That means that in these two countries alone, tens of millions of people are not sleeping well!
Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is widely considered to be the goal — although there are of course reasons why this isn't always possible!
Consistently disturbed sleep can affect people in different ways. However, one thing is for certain, and that is that poor sleep can cause ongoing physical and mental health problems over time.
Sleep & Physical Health
The quality of rest that you enjoy each night plays a serious role in your physical health. This can drain your energy levels, leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic. It will also disrupt your hormones, which can lead to a whole host of ongoing health issues.
Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are three of the most common health conditions that poor sleep can contribute to. Your life expectancy can also be lowered by ongoing sleep deprivation.
Sleep & Mental Health
You will likely notice that after one night of poor sleep, your mood and focus is negatively affected. You will probably feel irritable, agitated, and unhappy during the following day. As this continues over time, this fatigue can pull your mood down further and fuel feelings of anxiety and depression.
One of the biggest problems here is that as your mental health becomes worse due to a lack of rest, it can then be much harder to get to sleep each night. This then becomes a cyclic problem that can continue to get worse.
As you can see, protecting your sleep cycle is simply so important!
Sleeping well can be the difference between living a happy and healthy life, or finding it difficult to get through the day.
In order to promote a better sleep cycle — both in terms of quality and quantity — it can be incredibly helpful to use certain relaxation-promoting herbs. Today I'm going to share some of the best herbs for helping you to enjoy more peaceful and consistent rest.
This ancient medicinal herb is amazing for helping your body to deal with stress. It has been used for thousands of years to promote calm and concentration.
This incredible herb has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — which can go a long way to helping you to get a better night's sleep. Studies have shown that ashwagandha can also work to tackle inflammation, and to keep blood sugar levels down — which is great for preventing the harm caused by high blood sugar.
There is some evidence to suggest that ashwagandha can ease feelings of anxiety and depression. If true, this could make this herb a great choice for those who have been struggling with their mental health due to lack of sleep.
How to enjoy: You can purchase ashwagandha in capsules, as a powder, or also in its whole root form. Making herbal tea from it is a simple way to enjoy this herb, and you can make this yourself at home using ashwagandha extract.
If you prefer to enjoy ashwagandha as a capsule, then check out the Pukka Night Time capsules. Taking two of these with water before bed can help to ease you into a deep and nourishing sleep.
Valerian is widely used as a means to enjoy better sleep. Its calming effects have been shown to help you fall asleep faster, and to enjoy a better quality of rest.
It has been used for at least two thousand years in traditional medicine, as the root contains compounds which enhance feelings of calm and soothe anxiety. Two of the antioxidants found in the root — hesperidin and linarin — are known to have a gentle sedative effect.
How to enjoy: You can purchase valerian root as a liquid, as a capsule, and it can also be consumed as a tea.
Alongside ashwagandha, valerian is the other main ingredient in the Pukka Night Time capsules.
There are more than forty different types of lavender, and it is easy to spot this distinctive plant due to its vibrant purple flowers.
The soothing scent of the lavender plant can be of great help in feeling more relaxed as you go to bed. This is because it interacts with transmitters in the brain to quiet nervous system activity and tackle restlessness.
How to enjoy: Unlike the other two herbs that I've mentioned, lavender can be helpful simply by inhaling the scent of it. You may find that buying it in essential oil form and putting a few drops on your pillows is the best way to enjoy this herb. You can also enjoy the scent from the plant itself, and as it grows naturally in the wild, it is not usually difficult to find!
Enjoying Better Sleep
Incorporating one or more of the aforementioned herbs into your daily routine can go a long way to ensuring you enjoy better sleep.
It is also a good idea to make small lifestyle changes to further aid your efforts!
Getting active is a great idea, and can really help your body and mind to rest well. There are many different ways to embrace this concept, so try to be creative and experiment to see what will work best for you. You may find that exercising in the morning energises you for the day ahead, and also sets you up for a peaceful night's sleep. Alternatively, you may prefer to wait until the late afternoon or evening to do some exercise, and wear yourself out in time for bed.
Yoga is such a fantastic tool for better sleep, and you can check out my blog post from last month on the best yoga poses to try for this purpose.
Looking to your diet is also advisable, and removing certain dietary stimulants — or making sure to only consume them in moderation — can keep your body more consistently calm and balanced.