Tired, cranky, and out of sorts are not the only symptoms of lack of sleep. It affects your concentration and memory, weakens your immunity and you may even put on weight if you feel too tired and lethargic to exercise. Worse still, not getting enough shut eye night after night also puts your physical well- being at risk as you become more accident prone too.
During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance, which in men can mean they produce less testosterone when they are sleep deprived. Your brain also becomes exhausted, which not only affects your mood and decision-making but your creativity and can also lead to depression, paranoia and even suicidal thoughts.
Troubled by insomnia? Beauty expert, Angela Lopez of Belle-Toi (angelasbelletoi.com) in Bournemouth, suggests you try yoga, meditation or Tai chi, especially if anxiety is keeping you awake, as part of you bedtime ritual
Make sure that your bedroom environment is dark, quiet and cool. During the summer when daylight at dawn can disturb your sleep pattern, you might also benefit from wearing a sleep mask. And if you live in a noisy neighbourhood consider getting a white noise app to ‘drown’ out the distractions.
Having the computer or a TV in your bedroom will not help you relax and fall asleep – in fact, it has been proven many times over that any form of screen in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep! If you need some distraction to comfort you though, try setting your phone or iPod on a timer and nod off to your favourite soothing melodies.
Begin a relaxing routine that tells your body “it’s time for bed now” by having some cereal or a piece of bread 15 minutes before your retire and drink of either a cup of warm milk, or herbal tea, 30-45 minutes before bed – this regime can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep
Valerian tea is known to have a calming effect and is especially good for people suffering with anxiety. Infuse a teaspoon of dried valerian root in boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. You can add honey or milk to flavour.
Alternatively combine two tablespoons of dried lemon balm, or 8-10 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm leaves and a couple of dried chamomile and infuse in boiling water then steep for 5 minutes before drinking
Another drink that’s worth considering is cherry juice. This helps increase the happy hormone serotonin and also melatonin, which is so important for sleep. The more serotonin = more melatonin = better sleep!
Take a warm bath and to help ease away your worries, add herbs to the bath water
Fill a muslin bag with a handful of dried chamomile, valerian, rosemary, horsetail and peppermint or a mixture of chamomile and lavender and hang the bag under the hot water tap to allow the water to run through it, and infuse the air and water with their soothing scents.
Finally, before you crawl under freshly laundered sheets, practice mindfulness for 10 minutes by focusing on an ornament or picture, meditating to clear your mind of cluttering thoughts. This is the point when counting sheep once you’ve crawled unde fresh, clean sheets will have a similar effect.
If you still find yourself struggling to nod off, make lavender, or hop sachets, to stash under your pillow
Catnip, which sends cats crazy with love, can also make people relaxed, drowsy and ready for bed. You don’t need to roll around on the plant in ecstasy like your pet pussy would, but make it into a bedtime drink. 3-4 teaspoons of fresh catnip steeped in boiling water is usually enough to send you into a restful slumber.
Finally, keep your bedroom neat and clean as clutter is stressful, for some people more that others, and can have an adverse effect on your sex life!