Poor sleep is such a common problem these days and it’s repercussions on health are serious.  Just as we suffer if we don’t get enough nutrition to keep ourselves healthy, it’s equally important to ensure a good night’s rest to allow the body to repair and renew itself when the conscious body is at rest.  Many factors can hinder sleep.  Among these are inadequate exercise, poor diet leading to a lack of important nutrients, exposure to TV and computer screens at night and, of course, stress and anxiety.  All these issues can, and should be dealt with, where appropriate.

Look at your own situation, what’s getting in the way of a good night’s sleep for you?
Are you taking enough exercise in the course of the day?  If not even a moderate increase can be of benefit to cardiovascular and metabolic health as well as ensuring better rest.
Are you eating too late?  An active digestive system doesn’t help the body to get off to sleep.
Are you taking stimulants too late?  Try avoiding tea, coffee, fizzy drinks or anything containing caffeine after five or six in the evening.
Are you watching tv or computer screens too late?  These emit a light which stops the body from sleeping and at least an hour’s wind down should be left between their use and going to bed.
Are you under stress?  Appropriate supplements called adaptogens can nourish the adrenal system to help us to deal with the effects of stress on our bodies.  These include the herb Rhodiola, known for its ability to increase our tolerance to mental, physical and environmental stress and Siberian Ginseng which directly supports the adrenal glands by regulating the manufacture and secretion of adrenal hormones.  B vitamins, especially vitamin B 5 or Pantothenic acid, are essential to proper nervous system function and vital to stress tolerance.

If possible it’s important to go asleep before 11pm. If you are in bed before this time and find it difficult to fall asleep your circadian rhythm (natural sleep cycle) may need to be reset – apparently seeing a sunrise and a sunset in the same day will do this and might help you get to sleep that bit earlier.

The following herbal and nutritional ingredients find their way into many natural formulas for sleeplessness and all well worth trying :

Magnesium : this mineral has been found to increase production of the sleep and relaxation inducing hormone melatonin while reducing nighttime production of the stress hormones ACHT and cortisol.  A study involving participants taking 250mg of magnesium twice daily as opposed to a placebo showed at the end of the study those taking magnesium had statistically significant increases in sleep time, sleep efficiency and melatonin concentration.  Try taking it in powder or tablet form in the evening.

Glycine : this amino acid has been shown to exert positive effects on those with difficulty sleeping and daytime fatigue.  When taken before bed it has been shown to improve sleep quality and decreased time to reach a state of deep, and therefore regenerative, sleep.

L- Theanine : a study showed that taking 200mg of the amino acid L-Theanine promoted quality sleep.  All participants enjoyed better quality sleep with significant absence of ‘feeling exhausted’ on awakening.  The study confirmed that L-Theanine improves the quality of sleep by allowing the mind to fully rest and recuperate.

Valerian Root : a traditional herbal sedative, valerian root has been found to improve sleep quality and duration and reduce frequency of waking in the night.  It is non habit forming and, for most people, doesn’t lead to grogginess on awakening.  Take in the form of tablet, tincture or tea in the evening.

Red Date : the fruit has a long history of use for its relaxing effect to help calm the nerves and mind and is still the most popular traditional Chinese medicine for insomnia today.  Available in powder form in combination sleep remedies.

Cherry : like magnesium, cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that plays an important role in regulating sleep patterns.  Can be taken in the form of powder, capsule or juice.

Lemon balm : another popular herb for its calming, sedative effect.  Take in tablet form in combination with other ingredients or as a tea.

So if getting a good night’s sleep is a problem for you do take it seriously.  Look at how your lifestyle might be affecting the issue and deal with diet, exercise and stress management where appropriate.  After that any of the above supplements could be of benefit either alone or in combination.  Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you’re taking any other medication.

For the month of March we are running a special offer on Viridian Cherry Night Powder which may aid a better nights sleep.  Geraldine from Viridian will be instore on Friday 6th March if you’d like to talk to her and try the product for yourself. Viridian Sleep Supplement