Tips for better sleep:
* Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. The body will get into its automatic rhythm.
* Start the day with a walk, some breathing and stretching - this will lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) from the outset and help to keep them low all day.
* Change your perception of things. Read A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle . Frame your world in optimism. Change your words, change your world. What you think about, you bring about, so if you’re sitting there thinking stressful, angry, frustrated thoughts, guess what you’re attracting more of... People who focus on the positive tend to sleep better and experience better health in general. Remember: thoughts are like the clouds; they float in and out - you don't have to attach to them!
* Follow a consistent exercise program. It will increase your energy levels during the day, improve your mood and help to regulate your sleeping patterns at night. Exercise in the morning or afternoon. Working out within 3 or 4 hours of sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.
* Bad digestion means bad sleep. Don’t overeat. (No more than two fistfuls of food each meal.) Eat more meals, but less in them. Chew food thoroughly. Keep stomach acidity levels in check.
* Good sleep hinges on good daily detoxification. Things that assist liver detox: vitamins from green leafy veges, wholegrains, nuts, brown rice and seeds. Things that do not: Booze, drugs, food chemicals, sugar, trans fats, smoking and of course, stress.
* Sleep promoting foods (which produce melatonin and seratonin, the hormones required for good sleep): turkey (high in Tryptophan, a pre-cursor to melatonin), bananas, B vitamins, foods with zinc and magnesium. Sleep saboteurs: Fruit, rice, trans fats, vegetable oils (they become toxic at certain levels, cook with grapeseed or rice bran oil instead of olive oil), caffeine, chemicals and additives.
* Schedule some down time every day. Stretch, take a hot bath, read, do yoga or tai chi. Stare into space!
* Stop eating all together at least 3 hours before sleep. This will prevent heartburn, indigestion and energy boosts from the food.
* No TV or laptops for two hours before bed. Too much bright light and movement.
* Caffeine is fine in small doses, but if you’re not sleeping, get smart: no caffeine (even green tea) after 5pm. Limit caffeine during the day: try for less than 1-2 cups of caffeinated beverages per day.
* If you are hungry, have a light snack but avoid protein-rich and caffeine containing foods and beverages. Try dairy products. Milk contains the sleep inducing amino acid, tryptophan. (Go organic, please! So that the milk is coming from a healthy cow ... Eat Healthy: Be Political!)
* Try such sleep aids as herbal supplements (St Mary’s thistle, witharia, passionflower, rhodiola, zyzifous, valerian root, melatonin), Rescue Remedy and herbal teas - organic, pure loose leaf ones, please.
* Play soft music, dim the lights and wear PJs every night. This kind of pre-bed ritual signals to the body you’re entering the sleep phase.
* Aromatherapy (spray, candles or oil burners) have an incredible effect on stress levels. Lavender and chamomile scents can be soothing and relaxing. Vanilla 'kills' appetite.
* Don't oversleep. Too much of a good thing can actually make you more tired. Plan for a healthy 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Set your mind as you climb into your comfy bed.