2 Quick Fixes for a Better Night’s Sleep

Many clients come to see me for an innermost sherpa session because they’re having difficulty falling and staying asleep through the night. They want to figure out why, clear the blockages, and establish positive internal messages to support their system in sleeping peacefully through the night. Poor sleep is one of the most challenging symptoms to treat because it is so multilayered. It usually has to do with various stressors they are experiencing in their life, so we start addressing them one by one until they start sleeping better. Seeing me for a few sessions is one way to see results,  but there are other things you can take into your own hands and do right now!

Two quick fixes for a better night’s sleep that you can start right now are yoga and tart cherry juice.

Tart Cherry Juice is a great, natural way to enhance your sleep experience. The articles I read suggested taking 8oz of tart cherry juice (or 1oz concentrated), twice a day for best results. Once in the morning, and once in the evening, about 1-2 hours before bedtime, but make sure you do your own research to determine the best time for you to ingest it.

Tart cherries contains high amounts of melatonin, the hormone naturally produced in the pineal gland that helps you to fall sleep. They’re also packed-full of proanthocyanins, similar to the red tannins found in wine. This powerful compound helps your body to convert tryptophans to serotonin and helps you sleep.

A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that tart cherry juice can improve the quality of your sleep, your sleep duration, and help reduce the need for daytime napping.  The research team found that adults who drank two 1 ounce servings of tart cherry juice per day experienced a demonstrable increase in sleep efficiency as well as a 39-minute increase in average sleep duration.

The study involved 20 participants who were followed for a total of 7 days.  Each day all participants were given a drink twice a day, the first when they woke up and the second before bed.  Some participants received a drink comprised of 1 ounce of tart cherry juice and 1 pint of water while others received a non-cherry fruit drink.  The research team tracked the sleep habits of all participants over the course of the study to see if there was any change.  Additionally, routine urinalysis was used to measure the amount of melatonin present for each participant and monitored for changes.

The team found that those participants who received the tart cherry juice napped less, slept longer, and spent more of their time in bed asleep.  The participants who received the placebo drink had no change in their sleep habits.  Additionally, the tart cherry juice group showed increased levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, indicating that drinking this juice boosts the body’s melatonin levels which may explain how tart cherry juice helps with sleep.

*from Valley Sleep Center, full article here 

Now for the yoga. Feel free to use your yoga mat on the ground, or even try this practice in your bed before you drift off.

Yoga is a practice meant to boost mindfulness and physical wellness, so it’s no surprise that it can also improve sleep. If you’re one of the 25 percent of adults that struggle with insomnia or if you just want to boost your bedtime routine, try these yoga poses that promote better sleep.

Here’s a quick 4 posture yoga practice to get you traveling towards dreamland:

  1. Bridge. For this pose, lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width distance apart. Raise your hips up to the sky to form a “bridge” with your body.
  2. Supported fish. Lay on your back with a pillow supporting your shoulder blades. Let your legs layout long in front of you and rest your arms at a 45-degree angle away from your body, palms up towards the sky. This pose helps relax your back and stretches your chest.
  3. Spinal twist. Lay on your back and bend one knee up towards your chest. Leaving the other leg straight on the ground, twist your bent knee over the straight leg onto the opposite floor. Extend your arms out to a “t” and turn your head to gaze away from the direction you’re turning. Switch sides and twist in the other direction. Twisting and releasing your core will help your body relax and promote blood flow.
  4. Legs up the wall. Simply lay on your back with your buttocks as close to a wall as possible. Then, extend your legs straight up the wall in front of you. Try flexing your feet or putting a pillow under your low back for comfort. This pose will relax your feet and legs after a long day and leave you feeling lighter.

*From Optimist Daily, full article here

So there you go! Try doing the four yoga postures before bed and taking tart cherry juice twice a day for a few weeks and see if you notice your sleep improving. And let me know how it goes if you try it out!