Make Time For Sleep

Sleep is one of the most sought after things these days!




Why is sleep so important? 


This is where all the good stuff happens. Whatever we want to achieve or improve on, the element of ‘sleep’ must included in the equation. Without it, our bodies cannot rejuvenate and repair.


I see the impact of a lack of sleep a lot when treating injuries, where a patient just isn’t getting better. This is especially apparent in nerve related injuries, where they can’t get any relief from the burning, pins and needles or numbness sensations in their arms and fingers. Day-to-day repair, such as detoxification of the by-products the body makes, and the clearing of oxidative stress from the day's events, cannot take place, meaning the ageing process is accelerated. Those struggling with to catch up on their zzz's tend to look and feel older than they actually are. 


Immune health is in the forefront of all our minds at the moment and, needless to say, sleep will help in the detection of and recovery from bacteria and viruses, and help reduce inflammation within the system. 


Whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle.... yes you’ve guessed it - you need sleep! 


Brain Health

We are only able to organise our thoughts into neat little boxes in our minds - so they are easily retrievable - when we experience several sleep cycles each night. This in turn helps us to feel calmer, less anxious and feel more equipped to cope with the fast-paced lives we lead.


How we can improve? 

It’s all about moving our bodies from a stressful ‘fight or flight’ state to a more comfortable, calmer position.





Rituals.

All bodies, no matter our age,  welcome routine. We need to encourage our stress levels reduce in the knowledge of what is coming next and help our body to move into the calmer, parasympathetic nervous system.


Magnesium salt baths (2 cups in warm water and soak for 20 minutes) at least 3 times a week would help tremendously. Magnesium is known as the ‘humans natural tranquilliser’. You can discover more about the healing power of magnesium in my recent Mad about Minerals post. 


There are several magnesium supplements on the market, it’s a bit of a minefield. Many are combined with other lovely nutrients and herbs for specific needs such as digestion, gut healing and supporting the nervous system. Please contact me, or your Naturopathic Nutritionalist, to recommend one that best suits your needs, it’s not a one size fits all!  


You can also up the ante while you bathe and tap into even more of your senses to encourage relaxation, such as listening to music that you associate with calm, relaxing times, and burn some essential oils, such as frankincense, chamomile or lavender. Frankincense is also a great option, as it has been found to reach a cellular level within 30 seconds from inhalation. Did you know that by combining frankincense with other essential oils, it enhances the benefits of these oils also? 


In utilising our senses, we can connect a physical act with the mental pathways to help them move into the calmer nervous system. For those that find calming our mind or ‘connecting with the mental’ side of our wellness difficult, working with senses is ideal. 


Our ‘Touch’ nerves are where baths are also useful.  The sensory nerves on our skin are larger than our pain nerves, which means that touch can be useful to override any pain signals that may be sending our nervous system into panic, stress or ‘fight or flight’, and making relaxation difficult.

The warm water can support this, as can a lovely massage combined with essential oils, for a double whammy of relaxation!


This does not necessarily need to happen directly before bed, my clients always comment on how much better they sleep after a treatment session with me, they really look forward to it! Please get in touch to book a massage in our lovely treatment rooms in Manchester city centre, or to organise a home visit with one of our specialised therapists. 


Breathwork

Concentrating on our breathing is another physical action that can help us connect with the mind and promote relaxation. Through slowing, lengthening and deepening our breaths, and using certain tongue exercises, we can work with our Vagus nerve to soothe our nervous systems. Should you need some help with useful techniques, please consider a private session. Do get in touch and we will connect you with a suitable breath work practitioner.



Block out blue light

It's also important to move away from devices a couple of hours before bed, or you could consider getting yourself some Blue Block glasses to block the blue light out (Blublox.com do some good ones). Blue light confuses the brain and reduces the release of melatonin secretion which directly effects sleep.