How To Ease Your Sleep Problem

Sleep Problems

It’s rare for a week to go by without sleep, or our lack of, hitting the headlines. In 2019 so far, fresh research has already revealed that getting the right amount of sleep can reduce the intensity that we feel pain the following day and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. But, studies have also suggested that not getting enough could leave you more open to infections and more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Read More…

Shabir And Trinny On Sleep

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Sleep is a huge topic and with new research suggesting that the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night and catching up, it’s safe to say that it’s an issue that we have all struggled with at some point or another. In their latest live video, Trinny and Shabir discussed the most common sleep problems and the natural remedies that could help alleviate them.

Why is sleep so important?

When it comes to sleep we often focus on the problems we have falling asleep or staying asleep, rather than why it’s so important. You might assume it is a time when your mind and body shut down, but it’s actually when your body is processing, repairing and strengthening. While you sleep all the information from the day is processed and some of this information is moved from your short term memory into your long term memory and others are deleted. It’s also when your body manufactures hormones, repairs damaged tissues and produces new cells.

During the first three hours of sleep, your body produces human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone is vital for maintenance of youthful and radiant skin because it is involved in the repair of the damages caused to skin on a daily basis whether from external or internal sources. The middle two hours of sleep is when melatonin levels increase. Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in the circadian rhythm which is the pattern of sleep/wake-up but it also is a powerful antioxidant working to remove any free radicals that arise from the all the reparative processes that are undergoing whilst we are sleeping. During the final two or three hours, levels of cortisol drop, muscles relax giving skin its deepest recovery time.

How can you get back to sleep?

Waking up after three or four hours of sleep is a common problem, especially during menopause. Don’t just lie there trying to force yourself back to sleep, instead try some chamomile tea or caffeine-free green tea as this has l-theanine, which help relax the body and mind. Cherry Night by Viridian is also worth looking into as cherries are rich in melatonin and magnesium, which are particularly good for people who battle with restless sleep. You have to use it on a daily basis to reap the benefits.

Cortisol (stress hormone) levels should also be looked at as it blocks the release of your serotonin, which balances your mood and aids sleep. Sleep Tight by Natures Aid contains Magnolia, which helps to rebalance your cortisol levels, as well as Passionflower and Hops which act as natural sedatives. Eclectic Kids Sleep Support offers a natural remedy for children from the age of 12 months and above.

What about taking melatonin supplements?

Melatonin supplements definitely help you sleep better, however in the UK they need to be prescribed by your doctor. There may be a couple of risks as it is tricky to get the dosage correct and some believe long term use of the synthetic versions could possibly hinder your body’s own production. Instead, you may opt for cherries which provide a natural form of melatonin to hopefully replenish your stores.

Does a lack of sleep cause weight gain?

There is a direct link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. Despite common belief, it’s not because you are awake for longer and eating more. The increase in cortisol that wakes you up also stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin, which is responsible for regulating your sugar levels.

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

A dip in energy at around 3pm in the afternoon can be due to not getting enough sleep or what you ate for lunch. If you had a carb-heavy lunch you might find your energy levels crash after about two and a half hours because your body has burned off the sugar. You might find a power nap (less than 20-minutes) will help you recharge.

How can you ease restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is usually associated with an iron deficiency or low magnesium levels – over 60% of us are thought to have deficient levels of magnesium. Start by upping your magnesium levels, either with an oil spray, such as Pure Magnesium Oil Spray by Life-Flo or bathing in the flakes with Magnesium Oil Original Flakes by Better You. If you don’t see any improvement after a couple of weeks, try incorporating an iron supplement.

What are the benefits of liposomal supplements?

Liposomal technology is the future of vitamin supplements. Moisture, light and oxygen can compromise the quality of tablet and capsule supplements and the nutrients can also be compromised by your stomach acid and digestive enzymes as well as the food in your gut, which affects how much is actually absorbed. Liposomal supplements use a technology that protects these nutrients and delivers them into the gut from where they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Aurora NutraScience has a full range of liposomal supplements, including vitamin C, D3 and curcumin.

How can you reduce bloating?

First and foremost, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Taking apple cider vinegar regularly helps to aid your digestive system as it contains acetic acid. Your body also naturally produces digestive enzymes, which help break down the fibres, carbohydrates, fats and sugars from your meal. However, as we age our production slows, so it is worth supplementing them with Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes.

When should you take your supplements?

If you’re going to take vitamins, you should take them with some form of food because this will signal your brain to produce digestive enzymes to ensure you absorb the maximum amount of these vitamins. Amino acids, on the other hand, are the building blocks for proteins and should always be taken on an empty stomach because they may be neutralised by dairy and other foods.

Watch Shabir and Trinny on cleansing here

Is Overtiredness Stopping You From Sleeping

Clocks Going Back

Whether they go forward or back, the change in the clocks can often impact our sleep. This weekend, they’re going back so we can all enjoy an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning, but be warned, the days are about to get shorter and the cold, dark nights are going to become longer.

Sleep, or lack of it, is big business. In the US, its been reported that some have resorted to paying anywhere between $1100 and $5000 a month on sleep coaches in a bid to ease their insomnia. On the other side of the pond, since the clocks went forward in March, there has been plenty of discussion about sleep – how much we should be getting, how to get more et cetera.

But more recently, experts have been suggesting that overtiredness could be impacting the amount and quality of shut-eye we’re getting. Physiologist and sleep therapist, Nerina Ramlakhan told the Guardian, ‘We have become restless as a society – and that places more demands on us when we get into bed at night.’

‘We have lost the rituals and practices that gave us little respites during the day. In the past, you would go to the supermarket and, while you were waiting in the queue, you’d daydream, be a bit bored, look around,’ she says. ‘Now, any window like that will be filled by looking at your phone, answering some emails, sorting out your Amazon account.’

How can you reduce overtiredness?

The obvious answer might appear to be get more sleep, but as Ramlakhan has explained, too many of us are in constant overdrive during the waking hours that we’re too wired to relax at night. We should be looking at ways the tweak our lifestyle and introduce moments of respite throughout our days.

While it is easier said than done, limiting the amount of time you spend on your phone can help. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that those who don’t switch-off from work-related emails and activities at home struggle to relax and recharge for the next day.

The iPhone Screen Time app is a good way to introduce time restrictions on emails, social media and various apps. Putting your phone on DND (Do Not Disturb) between the hours of 6 pm and 7 am can also help ease you off late night work emails and mindless scrolling of your Instagram or Facebook accounts.

As with every article on sleep, we had to drop in meditation and yoga. Both practices are good at helping you to switch off and reconnect with yourself. If the idea of an hour of Vinyasa Flow feels you with dread, try swimming or joining your local bouldering club – both require you to leave your phone in the locker and keep your mind focused on the activity at hand.

If you get those moments of tightness in your chest or want something to help ease your stress, look to Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26. It’s a supplement we recommend time and time again for the simple fact that it does genuinely offer some relief. Interestingly, new research has also suggested that your other half’s body odour can also help you to de-stress, so keeping a T-shirt aside could potentially do the trick too.

What if you still can’t sleep?

If you’re still struggling to sleep after introducing pockets of rest during the day, it might be worth looking at your bedroom environment. Is the temperature cool enough? Is there any light coming through the curtains? And, is there a noise that could be silenced? None of these things are particularly ground-breaking, but a lot of us don’t have good sleep hygiene. For instance, not eating an hour or two before bed, or partaking in an intense cardio class too close to bedtime.

Upping your levels of melatonin (sleep hormone) can also help you to drift off (Cherry Night, £25.95, by Viridian is a good option). But, this does take a week or so to take effect. If you want a little helping hand in the first instance, look to Sleep Tight, £25.50, which contains a range of relaxing and sleep-inducing herbs, including magnesium, oat straw and ashwagandha.

Could Tapping Reduce Your Stress Levels?

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We all have those moments when everything mounts up. For some it lasts for mere moments, for others it can go on for days or weeks. It could be a mammoth project at work, a renovation at home, or an amalgamation of overwhelming things. Even the toughest, most mentally and emotionally stable people waver on occasions. A tightness in your chest that takes more than a couple of deep breaths to loosen or a racing mind keeping you up until 3 am.

There are around three million people in the UK who suffer with anxiety disorders. While there are prescription medication that can ease anxiety, there are also plenty of natural remedies that don’t have any known side effects. Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26, is the one that Shabir recommends time and time again as the blend of herbs not only helps you to relax, but also makes your body more resilient to stress.

Over the past year or so, another technique has been receiving a fair amount of attention, tapping.

What is tapping?

Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is essentially like acupuncture but without the needles. Instead, you use your fingertips to tap on the meridian pressure points outlined in Chinese medicine to help release blockages of energy.

While tapping is heavily influenced by traditional Chinese medicine techniques, it wasn’t invented until the 90s by a man called Gary Craig. Since then some practitioners have suggested that the technique can help ease phobias, chronic pain and addictions, as well as help reduce anxiety and stress levels by lowering your cortisol levels.

So, how do you ‘tap’?

Not everyone is going to feel comfortable about tapping various parts of their body in public, but there are a couple of options that can be done discreetly on a crowded bus. It’s also surprisingly easy to mentally get into it. Unlike meditation where you’re encouraged to focus on blank space, when it comes to tapping you hone in on the issue at hand and target the negative emotion or stress. At the same time you tap up to seven times on the key meridian points.

If you’re not au fait with Chinese medicine, the key points to ease stress are found on the side of your hand; the inner section of your eyebrows; to the side and below your eye socket; underneath your nose; on the crease between your lip and chin; your collar bone; just below your armpit; and the top of your head. If you want to follow a specific routine, it’s worth looking up The Tapping Solution, which offers short video tutorials and help finding tapping experts near you.

What are the alternatives?

For those who still remain unconvinced about tapping parts of their body, there are plenty of other methods to relieve moments of stress and anxiety. Breathing properly sounds very straightforward, but most of us don’t do it correctly. The result is higher stress levels and poor posture.

Getting enough sleep is obvious, but if you’re stressed out it’s likely that you struggle to drift off too. A lot of experts recommend partaking in at least two hours of good cardio exercise each week and avoiding eating at least two hours before bed.

There’s also some research to suggest that setting out a structured sleep routine can help. It might sound ridiculously simple, but when you think about it, do you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day? If you need a little extra help, Shabir recommends Sleep Tight, £25.50. It goes without saying that combining it with some light tapping could be just the ticket to help you drift off…