by Chloe Gorman
You know the feeling. It's 6am on Monday morning. You wake, bleary eyed, to your alarm blaring. The new day has come screaming into your life just at the moment it is least welcome.
I, like most people, fall out of bed and into the kitchen to flick on the kettle and brew a strong cup of tea; the caffeine providing a much needed boost to get me through the morning.
And I'm not alone. So many of us rely on caffeine to keep us awake and alert because of poor or disturbed sleep. Shocking really considering the many health benefits associated with getting a good nights rest.
Not only can a good sleep improve your productivity the next day, it could help you learn new skills, boost your creativity, reduce stress and anxiety, and help you shed pounds. Some people believe that good sleep can even increase your life expectancy.
So what can you do to improve your
chances of a peaceful night?
Many people avoid tea at bedtime due to the caffeine content, and though there isn't much in the way of scientific evidence to prove that tea can help you sleep, there are many infusions used worldwide to help send us to the land of nod.
Camomile tea is one of the most well known. From the daisy family, dried camomile flowers can be brewed in boiling water to make a soothing herbal infusion to help you drift off.
Another herbal choice is lemon balm, which many believe has relaxing properties, making it a regular in bedtime teas.
Peppermint tea can also be a natural sleep aid. Normally drunk after a meal, Peppermint tea is reported to calm your digestive system. Digestive discomfort can often be a cause for disturbed sleep, so if you've had a big meal before bed, Peppermint tea could be just what you need to relax your insides and help you sleep comfortably.
Then slightly more surprising is green tea. Theanine in green tea is believed to improve sleep quality, lower anxiety and increase alpha wave generation, so as long as you're brewing decaf, you can sip on a cup of green tea before bed and let it send you off to sleep.
As well as a calming cuppa, there are a few other tricks you can use to help you sleep soundly.
Keeping your bedroom calm and cool is important when you're trying to sleep. Unnecessary distractions like tablets, TV's and smartphones can keep your mind whirring, so banishing them from the bedroom will help; as will calming colours, low lighting and a cool temperature.
As much as it pains me to say it, alcohol before bedtime is a no no if you want to sleep well. Alcohol messes with your sleep cycle, so you'll find it harder to drift off and you'll be more likely to wake up. If you do enjoy a glass of something in the evening, it's best to have it earlier on, giving your body a chance to work it off before hitting the sack.
And lastly, while you'd think exercise would get you all fired up, doing some gentle yoga poses and deep breathing can get you in the right frame of mind for peaceful sleep. Try having a go at Legs Up The Wall pose, Reclining Butterfly or Child's Pose while the kettle is boiling for your bedtime brew.
Then you can look forward to a lovely cup of English Breakfast waiting for you when you wake!
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