Caroline Gaskin is a homoeopath & holistic health coach. Based in London, she works online with all her clients. One of the most topics she is most frequently asked about is sleep, so we picked her brains on some of her top tips for getting better rest.
As adults we should all be getting 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and, as we age, we need a little less sleep - around 6 to 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep over the age of 70.
Your body needs this time to recover, rest and recharge for a new day. We should wake up every morning feeling refreshed & energized.
Sadly this is not the case for most of us.
Why can't I sleep even though I'm tired?
We give up sleep to continue with more work as we rush from one thing to the next.
There are two truths though: we can get by on less sleep if the quality of our sleep is good, but going without sleep can lead to health issues and affect our longevity.
What is the best night routine?
First, let’s look at creating a good bedtime routine.
Healthier bedtime habits can help improve the quality of sleep.
Lowering your body temperature before bedtime can help you sleep better,, so taking a warm shower followed by a colder shower before bedtime can help prepare your body for sleep.
A twenty-minute bath with 250gm – 500gm magnesium-rich Epsom Salts, will relax your muscles and soothe your nervous system. Take a cooler bath if you are worried about getting too hot. Epsom salts also work well in a footbath.
Magnesium is known to play a role in aiding deep, restorative sleep but it’s rare to meet a client who doesn’t need a magnesium boost as we lose it through stress, tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar, excess sweating and heavy metals in our system. Luckily it is easy to add magnesium back in through measures like adding Epsom Salts to your bath. It’s important to keep going for up to six months to restore levels.
Always try to be in bed by 10:30 pm, even if you can’t fall asleep quite yet. Being comfortable in the dark helps your body produce melatonin, the hormone that helps you slip into sleep.
Do lights affect sleep?
Minimise any excess light in your room as light inhibits the release of melatonin. Cover electrical equipment lights or switch off electrical appliances. Excess EMR (electromagnetic radiation) from phone charging, laptops etc affects our sleep.
How does stress cause sleep problems?
If you are lying in bed worrying and feeling anxious, it can feel impossible to calm your mind enough to drop off into sleep. Stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol which put sus on alert. So if cortisol is elevated it can stop you switching off at night.
If your mind is racing before bed, use a guided meditation app to intentionally quiet or focus your mind: HeadSpace and Insight Timer are both excellent.
Expert Advice | Caroline Gaskin - Homeopath & Health Coach