I’ve always struggled with my sleeping patterns. I’ll go through stages of sleeping really soundly then I’ll have weeks of restless sleeps night after night. Sleeping badly can have a domino effect on mood, productivity and even physical appearance – and it turns out I’m not the only inconsistent sleeper out there. Koala recently conducted a survey and found that only 17 per cent of Australians wake up feeling rested. So, why aren’t we sleeping well and what are the best natural remedies to sleep better? I chatted to Swisse expert and naturopath, Toby Hone, to find out more.
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Why aren’t we sleeping well?
There are four main factors affecting our sleep, Toby explains:
- Ongoing stress can impact how soundly you sleep. Stress causes a surge in adrenal hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) that increase alertness and make falling and staying asleep difficult.
- Stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol can cause you to toss and turn throughout the night and have a restless sleep.
- Too much light at night (from using computer and TV screens and smartphones) can shift our internal clock and alter the production of melatonin which is responsible for regulating sleep, making restful and restorative sleep difficult to achieve.
- The sleep pattern of your partner or bedmate can have a significant effect on sleep, especially when your partner’s sleep and wake times vary to yours, or if they suffer from snoring or restless sleep themselves.
How can we improve our quality of sleep?
When it comes to strategies for getting a better sleep, it comes down to prioritising your routine. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but generally these are the strategies you can adopt, according to Toby:
- Prioritise time to wind down and relax at night.
- Avoid food stimulants like caffeine, sugar and alcohol at least four hours before bed.
- Avoid all stimulants four hours before bed, including white light from electronics.
- Try a guided meditation. There are lots of great free apps available that help guide you through a meditation and relax your body and mind for a deeper, more restorative sleep.
- Stick to a sleep schedule and prioritise sleep. Go to bed at the same time and aim for seven-eight hours sleep a night. It’s easy to postpone bedtime for more ‘me time’ during the week, but it comes at an overall cost to your functioning and wellness the next day.
Strategies I’ve tried myself that have helped include:
- Drinking a night-time specific tea such as T2 Sleep Tight before bed.
- Having a bath half an hour before bed and using lavender bath soak (my fave is L’OCCITANE Lavender Foaming Bath) or essential oils.
- Using a silk face mask like Lilysilk Silk Sleep Eye Mask to block out any light (plus this mask feels super relaxing on my skin and also helps my skin maintain moisture – bonus!).
- Burning essential oils like Jurlique Tranquil Blend Essential Oil in my bedroom for the hour before bedtime.
As for our members, here are a few products they’ve used and loved for a more restful sleep: