Stress, night shifts, and aging all take their toll on our body clock – particularly in relation to sleep. But of course, there are things we can do to help ourselves.
- Go outside immediately upon waking. Sunlight signals to your body that it’s time to start the day
- Limit caffeine after 5 pm
- Keep your bedroom for sleeping (or at least put work out of sight)
- Dim your lights as the sun goes down and use warm tones.
- Limit tech use after dark and none an hour before bedtime
And yes, herbs can help too. Try drinking a sleepy blend late in the evening and having a refill before lights out. Of course, you know that as the Twinings Expert Herbalist I’m going to be a Twinings Sleep blend fan – but there are other lovely sleepy teas out there to try. See which one suits you best!
But of course, I also have a list of herbs that I turn to when my patients are struggling to sleep. Here are my favourites:
1. Passionflower (Passiflora incanata) this beautiful herb with its stunning flower has long been prized by herbalists as an excellent remedy for mild insomnia. I think of it as the perfect herb to help correct a sleep pattern that’s gone awry. You’ll find it in sleep teas available in shops just about everywhere.
2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an excellent herb for calming the mind and helping you feel very slightly sedated and able to fall asleep quickly. It is often used in relaxing or sleep blend teas – but only in small doses because of its strong flavour. Mind out that if you are a particularly hot type of person you may not get on with this herb and it may make you feel a bit jumpy. For others, it can be just the thing to send you quickly off to sleep.
3. California poppy (Eschscholtzia californica) is a brilliant herb for people who just can’t switch off their internal chat for long enough to get to sleep, or who wake up in the night and can’t stop worrying. Calming and quietening allow your brain to stop working and let your body get some good quality sleep.
All of these herbs can be found in tea blends so when you next do your weekly shop, why not try one and see what a difference it could make to your nightly rest?