Sleep – get a good night!

We all recognise that sleep plays a critical role in  hormone health, our mindset, immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions but how often do you track your sleep to find out how it may be impacting on your health?

Please listen to my video below (about 11 minutes) to find out how we are focusing on our sleep pattern  and mindset this month

Download the sleep tracker here 

How to use the Sleep Tracker

Download the sleep tracker

Sleep and pillows-
Most people do not realize that their pillows are one of the reasons why they wake up with sore backs in the morning,  back stiffness and pain in the morning. It is important to find a good pillow that provides the correct support.

Neck Pillows

  • Provides good neck support. This is good news for those suffering from a stiff neck constantly. Neck pillows help relieve pressure from the neck because it helps align a) your spine and head b) provides traction and support for your neck.
  • Prevents or reduces snoring.   Neck pillows are one of your best bets to prevent and reduce snoring. Usually, a person snores because the air passages of their throats are blocked. If you use a  neck pillow, those blocked air passages will open up and make breathing  easier.
  • Promotes  good posture.  A neck pillow aligns the cervical spine so that you will naturally relax  your spinal cord and stretch the neck into its proper position.
  • Enhances blood circulation.  Neck pillows help the body to become naturally aligned.

So how else can you improve your sleep? Poor sleep is a modern phenomenon with over 50% adults in the UK failing to get enough sleep. Did you know adults need on average of 7 hours sleep a night with additional hours required after long haul flights, long distance travel, illness, infection, surgery, stress and exposure to the cold. Insomnia is classified as receiving less than 4 hours sleep for more than 3 nights per week. The impact of sleep disorders, including insomnia or poor quality sleep affects many people on a day to day basis leading to reduced cognitive function.  Common symptoms include impaired reflexes, excessive clumsiness, increased irritability, mood swings, reduced work capacity and poor concentration. We know that the implications of chronically poor sleep are far reaching including  the possibility of developing diabetes, heart disease, depression, obesity and even reducing your life span.

Food to help you sleep:

Enjoy a lighter meal in the evening avoiding very starchy foods (beans, potatoes, pasta)

Avoid carbonated drinks  and alcohol.

Avoid sugary food before going to bed. It contributes towards blood sugar imbalances (called hypoglycaemia)  – this includes waking between 2:00 am-4:00 am and can cause nightmares

Remember smoking and caffeine increase blood pressure which reduces  REM sleep.

Don’t go to bed hungry or over full.   A light snack one hour before is good – e.g rice cakes with mashed sardines.

Remember a quiet time for relaxation and  meditation

No TV, lap top  or paperwork for at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Use the bedroom for sleeping not for TV or work.

Ensure that the room is a comfortable temperature – no higher than 65 degrees .

Take a pre-bedtime bath to relax your muscles.  This helps shift the nervous system into the parasympathetic state and shifts your brain into sleep mode.

Drink a cup of herbal tea – Chamomile flowers provide soothing relief for the nervous system.

Oatstraw  helps balance. Valerian and hop flowers relax and induce a deep, restful sleep.

Passionflower is believed to bring a sense of calm.


Meditation to help you sleep

Calming the Mind  

Lying in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Allow your breath to settle into a slow and natural rhythm. Bring your awareness to your brow centre and picture your mind as a lake.  At first, you may see many waves on the surface of your mind-lake.  These are your thoughts and current concerns. Now imagine that someone has dropped a large, beautiful diamond into the water.  Gently try to see this gemstone shining brightly on the lakebed.  If you try to hard you will stir up the waters which will become muddy and you will be unable to see the diamond.  So when thoughts interrupt do not drive them way – this only encourages them to return.  Try instead to gently focus all your attention on trying to see the diamond. Slow down the flow of your breath and allow it to become smooth.  Your mind, which  is closely connected to your breath will respond by becoming calmer and any ripples will gradually subside so that you can eventually see the diamond clearly. Holding on to the image of the diamond, notice how stilling your mind and focusing on the gem brings a silent, profound inner calm.  Let the image of the diamond fade and allow the silence to envelop you by focusing all your senses on it.  Imagine that you can see, smell  and touch this silence.

If your enjoyed this article you may be interested in (from a fertility perspective)

Star meditation

Hydrotherapy and hormones

Hormone balancing recipes for early summer

Mindfulness to support hormones

Hormone MOT & Lifestyle Consultation

Justine Evans NDJustine Evans is a registered naturopath, nutritional therapist, body worker and healer.  Integrating functional medicine with eastern philosophy Justine provides a multi dimensional approach to your  hormone health. 

On line consultations  Tuesday-Friday weekly.   Twickenham  clinic re-opens July.  To arrange a consultation phone 07747 133170 or email

Disclaimer: This article has been written for inspiration and education purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease and it does not replace  personalised evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment by your  personal qualified health care professional.