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Struggling to sleep? Depression, anxiety, unstable mood?

Article by Fliss Austin Naturopath

Sleep is a time when the body can relax, recharge and repair. Failure to get a restful sleep can adversely affect the body’s equilibrium leading to a variety of health complaints — be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

Sleep loss causes profound impairments in cognitive and behavioural performance, including cognitive processes such as memory.

Did you know that many neurotransmitters are made in your digestive tract?

Up to 90% of serotonin is made there. If you are suffering from any digestive disturbances this can create a deficiency in a certain neurotransmitter (say serotonin for example) and create instability in moods and disrupted sleep.

Tips for good sleep hygiene:

• Set a regular bedtime.

• Have a 30–60 minute wind down before bed.

• Indulge in healthy pre-bedtime activities (turn off screens, read, have a warm bath, try a cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea).

• Be sure you have a restful bedroom environment (well ventilated bedroom - open the windows during the day to air it out, ensure the room is dark — the pineal gland needs darkness to produce melatonin which helps you sleep).

• Don’t check emails or messages late in the evening — this will just over stimulate your mind.

• Have a note pad by your bed in case you wake and need to write something down in order not to forget it.

• Ensure you have sufficient protein at night — protein is made of amino acids — these are needed in the regulation of sleep.

• Avoid stimulants at night, caffeine or excessive alcohol for 4 hours prior to bedtime.

• Practice mindfulness.