Sleep as a parent is often a luxury, then add covid-19 and lockdown, and wham – the struggle becomes real!
We all know that a good night’s sleep regenerates us and makes us feel like a new person. But for those who find sleep elusive, this deficiency can lead to irritablity, a sense of being overwhelmed and depression.
So sleep is vital to our mental health, especially during these difficult and demanding times. To help us get more shut eye we must first understand a bit more about sleep.
An adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep and this is aided by two hormones. Melatonin trigger’s sleep and is released from the pineal gland in the brain. It’s production is linked to the day-night cycle and it makes it’s presence known towards the end of the day as natural daylight dips – this is also the reason for an early dip in energy if you live in the North! Adenosine is produced as part of our metabolic repsonses and acts as a neuromodulator – the more you generate, the slower your brain acts and the more tired you feel.
These two hormones are the key to a good sleep practice. If we exercise we produce adenosine and if we dim the lights the melatonin does its magic.
So that’s the technical part over…now lets talk about sleep inhibitors! They are all around us, especially during a global pandemic.
- Not listening to our bodies.
Do any of these sound familiar?
To help yourself get a better nights sleep you need to address what is preventing you sleep and find ways to overcome this.
Gentle exercise such as yoga or walking in nature can help with stress and anxiety, and it also helps with adenosine production. If you are working long hours and into the evening – you need to address this we all need downtime.
Overstimulation is a huge issue in today’s society… caffeine, tech, endless TV, binge watching culture, alcohol, and sensationalist news coverage. Switch to chamomile tea and turn off your tech. Instead try a relaxation app, guided meditation or some relaxing music.
Listen to your body…. as you slow down you will be more aware of your natural rhythms. Be guided and embrace your own ebb and flow.
Parents – well there is no cure for children! However getting them into good habits will help and giving yourself time to relax and switch-off is important. So instead of an extra episode of your favourite series or tackling the laundry, have a bath, dim the lights and head to bed.
So here are the steps to get your healthy sleep practice in place.
- Gentle exercise, ideally outdoors.
- No work after 5.30pm.
- No computers after 8pm.
- News fiend? Watch early in the day and don’t be tempted by those news apps.
- Dim your lights in the evening. Use lamps not the ‘big light’.
- Build a routine, have a bath with lavender and candles. Chamomile tea. Lavender on your pillow. Find what works for you.
- There are herbal remedies available as well if you need.
Get planning your good night’s sleep.
At Nurtured Baby I have a range of Weleda Lavender products, gift sets and herbal remedies to help you achieve a good nights sleep. Just get in touch or visit www.nurtured-baby.com
Hello – I’m Nicole Hepburn, mother of three and owner of Nurtured Baby. I am a baby massage instructor and specialise in cloth nappies and babywearing – working with families for over 10-years.