Health and Wellness

NATURAL SLEEP AIDS 

By Salt Lab | Published the 09th Nov 2021

If you’re like most of us - you sometimes have trouble with your sleep, even if you feel like you’re doing everything right! It’s frustrating, tiring (literally), and can become debilitating if you don’t get on top of it.

Without adequate sleep:

  • Our cognitive function is reduced
  • Our ability to learn & adapt is impaired
  • We have slower reaction times 
  • Our hunger cues are amplified 
  • Our mood dips and our social interactions suffer
  • Energy levels crash & simple tasks become harder.

So while prescription drugs may seem like your only option to rescue your ability to sleep and regain your quality of life - they may not be the next best step to take, especially when you factor in some of the side effects and contraindications of sleeping pills.

Instead, you may find faster and safer relief with some natural sleeping aids with proven benefits. Here’s our three favourites:

1.Magnesium supplements - it goes without saying that this is our number one! A good quality magnesium supplementation (like our Magnesium Oil or Bath Salts) can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and have deeper and more restful sleep. Indeed, sleep duration is positively correlated with serum magnesium levels, and has been shown to reduce bouts of insomnia and improve sleep quality.  This is because this magic mineral eases tension in the body and helps your muscles relax (and a relaxed body means a more peaceful sleep), counteracts stress response and limits the effects of cortisol (your stress hormone), meaning it’s not spiking at night and leaving you wired and plays a key role in regulating and supporting  neurotransmitters crucial for healthy sleep cycles. Get into the consistent habit of applying a magnesium supplement to your skin 30 minutes before you head off to bed - and feel your body relax and surrender to a rejuvenating sleep.

2.Daily sun exposure - It may seem counterintuitive - but a good night’s sleep actually begins in the morning.  This is mainly because of the power of the sun and light on our natural circadian rhythm. The science shows that the experience of morning sunlight synchronises our bodies to its natural circadian rhythm, supporting healthy cortisol-melatonin cycles and in turn promoting the appropriate cycle of wakefulness during the day, and sleepiness at night.  For most people, exposure to sunlight is most beneficial if it occurs in the morning just after waking, typically within the first hour after crawling out of bed. A simple 30 minute walk in direct sunlight shortly after waking or a home workout outside soaking up those rays  will be transformative in setting your body up with a strong circadian rhythm that will mean come bed time, it will be much easier to fall asleep as the sun goes down and your body picks up on the darkness as a cue to sleep (you can also use our magnesium oil to help recover from this additional movement in your day 😉).  The key here is learn to work with the natural rhythm of your body - don’t fall into the trap and frustration of trying to force yourself to sleep before a healthy day-night cycle has even been established.

3.Breath-work - As much as we’d all love to be the type of person who can successfully and easily meditate their way to a good night’s sleep - the reality is, meditation can seem too challenging, time-consuming and anything but relaxing. Luckily, there’s an easier way to calm your nervous system down to promote better sleep - and it’s as simple as breathing!  By focusing on the length of your inhales and exhales, the way your rib cage moves and how your body feels, you can activate your parasympathetic (rest) system, helping restore balance in your nervous system for a restful sleep.  Viewing breathing as an internal practice, you can take control of your body without any external aids. To start: think of your entire rib cage expanding with each inhale. As you take in more air, think about breathing into your sides and back.  Once you’ve nailed the perfect inhale, start counting the length. Aim for a 2-4 second inhale, a 2 second hold, then a 6-8 second exhale.  During the exhale, pretend that you’re blowing through a straw or breathing through pursed lips.  As soon as you’re comfortable with this technique, you can progress to nasal breathing, following the same timing.  All it takes is 5 minutes before bed of doing this intentional breathing, and you’ll feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed and at ease - and asleep before you even know it!

These are simple additions that can take as quick as 30 seconds, a few sprays onto your stomach and feet 10-20 mins before bedtime, that will have huge impact on your night and how you wake feeling the next day.