Do you want restful sleep and to wake up feeling refreshed?

Kate Staunton | March 12th, 2024

Are you having a difficult time getting a decent night’s sleep due to work patterns, family commitments, jet lag, stress or for no reason you can pinpoint? We are here to help you establish a good sleep pattern.

Circadian Rhythms

At the heart of our sleep-wake cycle lies our circadian rhythm. This is our biological clock which is located in the hypothalamus in the brain. It sends signals to several other parts of the brain to regulate a huge range of activities including sleep and eating patterns, alertness, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, regulation of glucose and insulin levels, urine production, immune system regulation and cell regeneration including repair. Our eyes have special nerves that sense light frequency and this tells our brain whether its day or night.

Some issues you might experience as a result of poor sleep include problems with cold/heat regulation, lower immunity and therefore more colds etc and slower recovery time after illness or injury, increased stress hormones and increased sugar cravings. Pain, nasal congestion, perimenopause symptoms, or frequent nighttime urination interfere with sleep and lack of sleep makes them worse.

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland when it senses it is getting dark. It signals the body that it is time for sleep and it helps us sleep through the night. In the early morning melatonin reduces and cortisol takes over to get us up and ready of the day’s activities. Getting day light into our eyes early in the morning sends signals to our body that sleep time is over and that cortisol is required for the day ahead.

Tips to help improve your sleep quality:

  • Work with rather than against your circadian rhythm
    Routine is very important. Aim to get up and go to bed at about the same time every day. Getting up early for work but staying in bed late on your days off sends mixed messages to your brain. Get your most demanding or least favourite tasks done first thing in the morning and leave less challenging or favourite tasks for the afternoon. This harnesses your morning energy and less challenging tasks promote a more relaxed state in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Sleep environment
    Make your bedroom as calm and dark as possible. Declutter if necessary! Dim the light and use a blackout blind or eye mask if needed. Maintain a comfortable temperature (17°C - 20°C). Try a few drops of lavender, camomile or a sleep blend in a burner in your living area or bedroom an hour before bed. Try our Tisserand Pillow Mist or aromatherapy massage oils. Air your bedroom and bedding regularly.
  • Avoid TV glare and blue light from mobile phones and devices at least 1 hour before bed, longer if possible.
  • Write down your worries. Ask yourself if they are 100% justified. Are you sure the outcome you are worrying about will happen? If not try to turn it around and think of a good outcome. Even writing down your worries helps move them from your head. Regular meditation is a powerful way of silencing worries. Even 5 minutes helps.
  • Start your evening tasks early, rather than sitting in front of the TV and dreading them. E.g. making lunches, sorting clothes for the morning, putting out the bin etc.
  • Begin a relaxing evening routine. E.g. Turn off overhead lights and turn on lamps to give a more calm feeling. Try our nighttime herbal teas specially designed to relax your mind and body. Listen to relaxing music rather than watching TV and scrolling on your device.
  • As soon as possible after waking, try to get outside. Natural light on our eyes helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Try to exercise as early in the day as possible. Strenuous exercise close to bedtime Is likely to interfere with sleep but relaxing yoga may be helpful.
  • Consider a Magnesium supplement. Magnesium is required for over 300 enzymatic activities in the body, and it is almost impossible to get enough from our diet. It can be taken at any time of day, but it is especially beneficial to take it about 1 hour before bed. We stock the Mag 365 range. Tip – add a nighttime tea bag to your Mag 365 hot drink. PRIZMag Magnesium bisglycinate is our best seller because it is so well absorbed. We stock Oriel Magnesium Sleep Drops which may help with restless legs, muscle cramps, menopausal symptoms.
  • Its important to tackle the root cause of sleep problems. Pain and discomfort have a huge impact on sleep quality. If you suffer from stiff, painful joints or very dry, itchy skin try Oriel Magnesium Sports Recovery and Skin Repair Gels. Consult your doctor if you have sudden onset unexplained pain or prolonged pain.
  • Immerse yourself in a warm bath with our relaxing aromatherapy oils. Epsom salts are made from magnesium sulphate and a cupful added to your bath water can help to relax muscles and relieve stress and promote deep sleep.
  • Did you know caffeine stays in your system for up to 12 hours? Your afternoon coffee is still in your bloodstream at 3am. Try to stick to one or two coffees, having your last one at lunch time or earlier. Alcohol may help us to relax and go to sleep, but it leads to very poor sleep quality.
  • Avoid taxing activities like work related tasks, budgeting or having difficult conversations close to bedtime. It’s best to catch up with world news earlier in the day and leave evening for relaxing activities like, reading and listening to relaxing music as you potter around finishing the tasks of the day.

You don’t need to implement every suggestion at once. Try one or two consistently until they become routine and then add another. For example, you could start making the school lunches and taking out the bin as soon as the kids are in bed and dimming the lights around the house. After a week you could try a relaxing herbal tea or magnesium supplement and then gradually tackle your bedroom, buying low-watt bulbs and a black-out blind or eye mask and getting rid of unnecessary clutter.

We are happy to help you chose a suitable sleep aid. It is particularly important to get advice on the best supplements, especially if you have a health condition or are taking prescription medications.

Sweet dreams!

#SleepMatters #Insomnia #SleepAwareness #SleepScience #RestfulSleep #BedtimeHabits #SleepHygiene


Zest Natural Health
22 Upper English Street
BT61 7BH
Northern Ireland

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Mon to Fri: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Saturday: 9.30am to 5.00pm
Sunday: Closed

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