Have you been struggling to get enough sleep? If so, you’ll find yourself in good company.
In his book, Why We Sleep, neuroscience professor and renowned sleep expert Matthew Walker says that more than one third of adults in many developed nations don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Besides not feeling very refreshed and lacking a certain gusto at work, Walker notes that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your immune system and blood sugar levels, in addition to increasing your likelihood for developing cardiovascular disease.
Create a sleep strategy
To optimize your shut-eye, explore the following tips, adapted from Walker’s book, to create a sleep strategy.
- Create a schedule and stick to it; this means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Walker says this is the be-all-end-all because it is very difficult to adjust to changes in sleep patterns. He suggests setting an alarm for bedtime.
- Dim or turn off the lights and switch devices to night mode to activate warmer tones. Darkness helps give your body cues that it’s time for bed. If you can, avoid screens altogether at least two hours before bed. If this feels daunting, start with an hour.
- Avoid naps after 3 p.m. – they are bad news because they will make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Get some natural sunlight exposure in the morning as daylight is key to regulating sleep patterns. Aim for thirty minutes, but starting with ten will still be beneficial.
- Mind your caffeine consumption so you aren’t having it too late in the day.
- Develop a bedtime routine or ritual that you look forward to and that allows you time to unwind. Listen to music, read a book or have a hot bath while enjoying a hot cup of herbal tea.
5 herbal teas for sleep and relaxation
Choose an herbal tea designed to support sleep or to promote relaxation. While most herbal teas are soothing, look for ingredients like chamomile, lavender and valerian root which are natural sleep remedies. Other relaxing agents include passionflower, tulsi, lemon balm and skullcap.
- Sweet Dreams (chamomile, lavender, valerian root, lemon balm)
- Kamila’s Chamomile Dream (chamomile, lavender)
- Serenitea (passionflower, skullcap, lemon balm)
- Lemon Ginger Tulsi (tulsi/holy basil)
- Tulsi India Chai (tulsi/holy basil)
Pair one of these herbal teas with the tips above for the ultimate sleep strategy!
References: Walker, Matthew. (2017). Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.