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How well are you sleeping?

We thought we would focus on sleep this week as we have lots of customers that ask for advice on herbal supplements to aid sleep and restlessness.

Research from the University of Leeds found that around a quarter of British adults are getting as little as five hours’ sleep a night – an amount that not only causes problems with tiredness the next day but is actually associated with long-term health problems such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The study also found that 30 per cent of adults were dissatisfied with the amount of sleep they were getting, and 18 per cent said that their lack of sleep was affecting how well they functioned during the day.

You can bet that, while our ancestors may have had their sleep disrupted by a wild animal outside the cave or a crying baby, they weren’t lying awake worrying over a deadline or mentally planning their to-do list for the next day. So what can we learn from our predecessors – and traditional cultures – about how to get a great night’s rest?

Sleeping pills often cause just as many problems as they solve, but plants in their natural state have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicines to support all areas of health. Whole herbs contain all the natural constituents of the plant, which create a natural balance and work with the body rather than suppressing its natural functions.

Here are five herbs to help support healthy sleeping patterns:

Lavender: A renowned herb for settling frazzled nerves. The aromatic essential oils in this plant can help reduce difficulty falling asleep and prevent night-time wakening.

Limeflower: A traditional remedy for nightmares and bad dreams. Its calming effect on the nervous system also makes it effective in treating nervous digestion. It is also perfect to use for children as it is a gentle remedy.

Valerian: Directly promotes relaxation of the nervous system through enhancement of GABA neurotransmission. It encourages healthy sleeping patterns, ensuring you wake to feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Ashwagandha: A traditional Ayurvedic remedy shown to improve sleep quality by up to 66%. It tackles core energy levels, enabling the body to adapt and respond to stress in a more energy-efficient way.

Oat flower: Oats are a natural source of tryptophan. Tryptophan helps regulate our body’s natural circadian rhythms and melatonin is synthesised from Tryptophan. It is melatonin that influences you to feel sleepy; its release can be inhibited even by the presence of artificial lights.

We sell a large range of oils, herbs and supplements that can help improve your sleep, next time you are in the shop please ask for assistance and we can guide you in the right direction. We also have our in-house nutritional therapist, Liz Sheehan, in store every Friday (from 12pm to 2.30pm) if you would like to talk more in-depth on your sleep issues or any other health problem you may have. We are here to help so please pop in and see us.