As we step into the New Year, it’s a perfect time to reevaluate your sleep quality and consider tweaking your daily routines and/or supplements to enhance your sleep. Good sleep can often be hard to come by yet it is foundational to our overall health.
Sleep or lack of sleep is affected by numerous factors, such as hormones, stress, environment, diet and lifestyle to name a few. Hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, melatonin and insulin all play a role in our bodies’ sleep/wake cycle. Please see our blog article “4 Key Hormones for Better Sleep” for more detail on sleep-related hormones.
In today’s article, we’ll be exploring some of the top strategies and daily practices for improving sleep as well as some of the most effective sleep supplements that we use in our practice.
Bedtime Practices for Better Sleep
Your nighttime routine (AKA your sleep hygiene) also plays an important role in preparing your body for sleep. Some simple changes can go a long way in terms of setting the scene for optimal rest.
- Putting your phone to bed 30 minutes before you tuck in can be very effective to calm the brain and start the release of sleep hormones.
- A warm bath with epsom salts can help relax your muscles and calm tension before bed.
- Dimming the lights and using room darkening shades can stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Reading a book, meditating or doing some gentle yoga stretches can all provide relaxing benefits prior to bedtime.
Find a bedtime routine that works for you and see how much better you feel!
What to do when good sleep hygiene isn’t enough
Supplements and herbs can also play a vital role in amplifying your sleep, especially if you have not seen results with adjusting your routine. The supplements discussed in this article are available in our Fullscript online store HERE, however we provide only general guidelines so please consult with your doctor for more specific dosing information and recommendations.
This is only a small list of possible options to help improve sleep but here are a few you may want to consider…
Supplements and Herbs for Sleep
- Magnesium – An essential mineral that helps to relax the body and mind. It can be beneficial for sore muscles and also an active mind. 200-400mg of magnesium at bedtime can help naturally promote a restful sleep.
- Chamomile – An herb known for relaxation and often used in the form of tea. At night, drinking a strong cup of tea (made with 2 tea bags) can help increase the sleepy effect.
- Passionflower – A gentle herb to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety in preparation for sleep. Can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules.
- Melatonin – The sleep hormone that is produced by the pineal gland. Your body naturally produces melatonin although levels vary person to person and may not be released at the correct time. Taking 1-3mg of melatonin 30 minutes before getting into bed can help promote a good night’s rest and normalize your sleep pattern.
- GABA – An amino acid that helps relax the mind can be helpful at night, especially if sleep is difficult due to stress or anxiety. Chewable GABA is usually recommended and can start working in as little as 10-15 minutes. 100-200mg of GABA can be taken at bedtime and again if you wake up in the middle of the night.
- Cortisol Manager – One of our favorite combination supplements to help calm down stress and reduce cortisol levels to promote quality sleep. This formula contains herbs and nutrients to break down the stress hormone cortisol. More information may be needed by your doctor to determine if this is the correct choice for you and we often look at an Adrenal Saliva Test first to evaluate your specific cortisol pattern.
What else? Looking beyond bedtime is often the key
Sleep is a 24 hour process, meaning your routines and choices all day long impact your sleep patterns at night. Evaluating how you start your day, what and when you eat, and your other daily lifestyle choices are integral to your overall health and circadian rhythm.
We are here to support you on your journey and can create an individualized sleep plan to address your needs.
Schedule a complimentary Vitality Discovery Call to learn more! We’d love to meet you and hear about your needs, and can help you consider if our practice is a good fit to support you.