How to get a good night's sleep naturally
Easy tips and tricks to try today so you can sleep well tonight.
How to have a good night's sleep must be one of the most asked questions ever.
I mean who can sleep well these days? Not me that's for sure. Either I can fall asleep within minutes, but wake up about three am and stare at the ceiling till the sun rises or, I can't fall asleep and I toss and turn until three am. Either way, it's not fun.
And apparently in my difficulty in falling asleep or staying that way I am not alone.
Skincare that soothes and calms? Yes please. Try this Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $160.
In 2010 the Sleep Health Foundation commissioned a telephone survey of 1512 Australians aged 14 to 70 years old. The study found sleep difficulties, such as initiating and maintaining sleep, and daytime
symptoms including fatigue, sleepiness and irritability were reported to occur most days by a full 20 per cent 35 per cent of the population. But the stats don't matter - not really. What matters is that not being able to sleep sucks. And I want it to stop. Now.
I've tried everything. And so far - no joy. And I am getting increasingly desperate. So I hit up sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo.
What the woman doesn't know about sleep is not worth knowing. So I sat down with her and spilled. I may have even cried a bit. I know, I know. Not cool. But lack of sleep will do that to you. Anyway - here is what she told me and it kind of blew my mind. It also changed everything for me as far as getting more Zs was concerned. And if sleep is a problem for you I recommend you read on and pay very close attention. Your life is about to change - and for the better.
Olivia - looking awesome and very refreshed.
Olivia. Help me! I can't sleep. It makes me crazy. Should I be taking medication?
"For sleep holistic option are best. I’d advise against pharmaceutical options, such as sleeping pills. Sleeping pills have been proven to have side effects such as increasing the likelihood of memory loss, lethargy and fatigue. I would recommend more natural options such as Oil Garden’s Sleep Assist Aromatherapy Oil, $16.99 and natural sleep supplements in combination with seeing a sleep therapist who can help you develop better sleeping habits to get a great nights rest.
Um ... I take an antihistamine every night to sleep - how bad is this? (I mean I know it's bad but how bad?)
Dr. Philip Alapat, assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, pin points side effects of altered mental state, urinary retention and poor sleep quality, which translates to you being tired in the morning. So in terms of your mood, energy and overall happiness, it can be extremely detrimental.
Seriously ... not sleeping can make me fat? Please explain?
A major 2011 sleep study found that people lose 55 per cent more body fat when sleeping 8.5 hours compared to 5.5 hours.
Essentially, sleep alters the hormones within your body and hormones control for hunger. Sleep also plays a role in energy expenditure and calories. As a result insufficient sleep can make you hungrier, less satisfied and specifically crave sugary sweets (to give you the energy hit you need).
Relaxing oils such as this one by Oil Garden will help to soothe jangled nerves.
And actually the idea of that makes me so anxious that I am even less inclined to sleep. Help!
The key is to be grounded in what you can do, rather than what you cannot. You can’t control your hormone levels, but you can control how much effort you put in to attaining quality sleep, such as seeing a professional. Focus on that - what is within your sphere of control.
Do many people have issues with sleeping? What the hell is wrong with us?
We, as a society, are obsessed with busy-ness, being connected 24/7, growing our Instagram accounts and the work hard / play hard idealisation.
We celebrate exhaustion, denigrate ourselves for needing to relax, value financial success over personal wellness and engage in anti-sleep behaviours on a regular basis, such as drinking caffeine late at night (hello espresso martinis), taking drugs with negative side-effects and being in loud, noisy environments when we should be sleeping.
Then there are factors such as blue light emitting devices, high sugar diets and lack of exercise, all of which create chaos for majority of us. In fact, a 2018 Sealy Posturepedic Sleep Survey of 5000 Aussies found 77 per cent of them did not attain sufficient sleep on a weekly basis.
A weighted blanket can help anxious sleepers. This one by Calming Blankets is luxe. Image: Instagram/@calmingblankets
I fall asleep easily but then wake up half a dozen times a night ... is this normal?
Normal, perhaps. Preferable, no. Changeable, yes.
I lie there tossing and turning and of course I get more and more anxious. OMG if I don't sleep now I will only get six hours of sleep. Now five. Four. HELP! How do I stop these thoughts?
Step one: Take a deep breath! Breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system - aka the calming nervous system - which is why you feel automatically more tranquil after doing it.
Step two: Practice meditation, using an app such as Headspace.
Step three: Use mind dump. An inability to ‘switch off’, excessive stress and anxiety can be amended via the process of mind dump, as found by researchers at School of Psychology, Xinxiang Medical University. The act of writing down everything you’re stressing/thinking about forces your mind to slow down, simply because you can’t write as fast as you can think.
Further, the mind declutters when you have tangible evidence of your thoughts - often we keep thinking in order to avoid forgetting. This technique is effective for getting to sleep (instead of using your phone), when you wake in the evening with a flurry of thoughts, or anytime you feel overwhelmed.
Gorgeous sleepwear will get you there. We love Peter Alexander anything and everything. Image: Instagram/@Peteralexander.
We all know the basic stuff we should be doing ... is there anything new?
My best advice is to engage the support and advice of a professional. Sleep doctors and specialists (like myself) do exist and can help guide you, sometimes more practically than your GP can.
And one last question ... is lack of sleep really SUCH a problem?
Many research papers and studies indicate that modern lifestyles/behaviours (such as phones, longer work days, busier lifestyles, new medications, unhealthy habits etc) have resulted in a contemporary sleep crisis.
Everyone is trying to find a quick fix rather than working on their daily routine and habits, which is key. Yes, it is sometimes a daunting prospect to take on considering how busy we all are on a daily basis. But it is achievable!
Olivia runs a program helping folk from all over the world to sleep (and sleep well). Check out the program here.