Clean sleeping? A herbalist’s approach

#Cleansleeping – the new fad for 2017

You may have seen this new "trend” in the media this week - #cleansleeping – coined by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow. She may have invented and brought her own style to it (copper-infused pillows?), but herbalists have been talking about the virtues of a good night’s sleep for hundreds of years.

Gwyneth is certainly right in saying that your quality of sleep affects your energy levels, metabolism and immunity. We all know how rough we can feel after even one night’s bad sleep. But in today’s world of deadlines, family demands, and generally keeping up with what’s going on, how can we improve our sleep quality? Here’s a few tips:

  • Get some exercise every day – even if just a short walk at lunchtime.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark (not difficult at this time of year) and not too hot – although many people find keeping their feet warm helps them drop off.
  • A relaxing bedtime routine often helps – a warm milky drink or herbal tea (Pukka and Clipper do some tasty ready made ones, or ask your herbalist!) and a bath with essential oils or a bath bomb, or perhaps just a nice-smelling body lotion can all help you wind down.
  • Meditation – some prefer to do this in the morning but others feel more benefit before bed – try the Headspace app for a beginner’s guide.
  • Turn your phone or tablet off at least an hour before bed. The type of light they emit interferes with the body’s natural clock. And don’t work in bed!
  • And on that note – try and get up and go to bed at the same time every day. It’s tempting to spend the morning lying in at the weekend but try not to do this too often.
  • Don’t drink caffeine too late in the day. Some people stop at 4pm to stop it affecting their sleep but there is recent research saying that older people may even need to stop drinking caffeine as early as midday. Heavy meals and alcohol can also affect your sleep quality.

And if you can’t sleep, after 30 minutes get up and do something – fold the washing, read a book or organise your sock drawer – don’t lie there stewing.

Gwyneth doesn’t mention seeing a herbalist in her quest for #cleansleeping, but if you are having problems with sleeping, either getting off to sleep or waking often in the night, why not visit your local medical herbalist?