Ah, sleep. It’s something that people routinely say they don’t get enough of. And while we blame it for our inability to focus or for being a crankpot, there’s a lot more damage inflicted on our bodies beyond our crotchety attitudes due to not getting enough sleep.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one-third of Americans don’t get the amount of sleep they need, which is a recommended seven or more hours a night for adults. Those hours don’t include time spent in bed tossing and turning, either. We’re talking good, solid, continuous hours. That’s not just “beauty sleep,” folks. Turns out quality sleep is critical to good health.
According to the CDC, not getting enough sleep is linked to several chronic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep-related disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea lead to a host of other issues, some quite serious. Of course, fatigue behind the wheel of a vehicle can lead to great tragedy.
If you’re one of the two-thirds of Americans who aren’t getting the right amount or kind of sleep needed to live a more healthy life, we’ve got some tips to help you get ready for sleep (and stay asleep). If you suspect, however, that you have some underlying medical issues that are causing your sleep issues, please seek out medical advice. The following tips are not meant to replace any potential medical attention you or a loved one might need.
Hemp Moringa Deep Sleep Tea
For starters, we recommend enjoying a cup of our Hemp Moringa Deep Sleep Tea, part of our Mind Your Body collection. We started with all-natural hemp grown by our sister company, The Hemp Division, which gives it a base of the calming properties of CBD. Then we added the following ingredients:
- Moringa. Also known as the drumstick tree, miracle tree, ben oil tree, or horseradish tree, moringa has been used for centuries for its health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
- Holy basil. Originally grown in India, this plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen (a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes). The Hindu name for holy basil, “Tulsi,” means “the incomparable one.” It is considered a sacred plant by the Hindus. While it is related to the basil we use for cooking, holy basil has notes of peppermint, cloves, licorice, or lemon, so keep it away from your spaghetti sauce. Or not.
- Turmeric. This spice is the main spice used in curry, but the plant’s root is often used to make medicine. Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that is thought to help with inflammation.
- Goji berries. This bright orange-red berry, also called wolfberry, has been called the “fountain of youth” berry. While we make no such claims of eternal youth, we can say this berry is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. They have a lovely somewhat tart flavor.
- Coconut. Once a widely maligned food, coconut has been rediscovered as having some very beneficial properties. It is a powerhouse of manganese, which is essential for bone health, as well as many other nutrients.
- Nutmeg. Nutmeg is lauded for many potential health benefits, including reducing insomnia. Plus, it’s so darn delicious!
Other Tips for Better Sleep
They seem so “duh” and commonsense, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t follow these simple steps to help have a healthy night’s sleep. If you’re one of them, give these a try. No gadgets to buy, no special tricks. Just basic things like:
- Make sure your bedroom is dark. A nightlight is fine, but turn off the rest and close your blinds/curtains.
- Get rid of the blue light! Turning off the tv is really important to getting a good night’s rest. Not only can the light from the tv delay your ability to fall asleep, or interrupt your sleep cycle, but your body is soaking in the blue light from your tv (and your phone). That can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that keeps your sleep/wake cycle in check.
- Keep it on the cool side. While there’s no one-temp-fits-all magic number, we all know it’s hard to sleep when you’re hot. Adjust the temperature to what feels cozy for you under the covers.
- Keep a consistent bedtime. When your body gets used to going to bed at a certain time on a regular basis, it will start to ready itself for sleep. Circadian rhythms and all that science stuff.
- Eat the pizza earlier in the evening. Eating a heavy meal late at night means your body has to do some hard work digesting that food. Give it a break by eating a sensible meal a few hours before hitting the hay. Plus, if you’re gonna have heartburn, better earlier than later.
- Caffeine and alcohol. Obviously, having caffeine before bed isn’t a great idea. And while it might seem like alcohol would help you sleep, too much can have the opposite effect and disrupt your sleep.
- Indulge in some self-care. Massages are a wonderful way for the body to unwind and relax. If you don’t happen to have a masseuse at home, no worries. Give yourself a face massage before you go to bed to help get in the mood for sleep.
- Write in a journal or use a guided meditation. These practices can help empty your mind of whatever’s on it, allowing you to have a clean slate for a peaceful night’s rest.
Have trouble falling back asleep after you wake up in the middle of the night? Try these simple activities:
- Get up. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re wide awake and tossing and turning, get out of bed and go to another room. Staying awake in bed, over time, can train your brain that bed is a place where it’s cool to be awake rather than asleep.
- Read a book. Reading can be a great way to fall back asleep. Having a soft book light rather than having to turn on a harsh, bright light is best. And while you may be tempted to turn on the tv, tablet, or phone, remember: stay away from the blue light!
- Meditate. If you meditate regularly, you’ll know how to use this mind-calming technique to lull yourself back to la-la land. If you’re not a meditation practitioner, try keeping a book of meditations next to your bed that you can refer to until you’ve got meditation down pat.
Make Tea Part of Your Bedtime Ritual
Herbal and non-caffeinated teas are a wonderful way to begin unwinding before bed. In addition to our Deep Sleep tea, we offer many other teas that make a perfect pre-bedtime companion. A few of them include:
- Chamomile, the classic tea for sleep that many people find helps them relax. You’ll also find chamomile in our Yellow & Blue tea with lavender, our Garden Therapy tea with peppermint and verbena, our Chopra Center Organic Soothing tea, our Chaga Wonder tea with hemp, Chaga mushrooms, ashwagandha root, and more, and, from The Hemp Division, Chill, with chamomile, mint, and hemp. Check out all our chamomile teas.
- If there’s a tea that’s perfect to help you sleep, it’s Sleep! Made with hemp, holy basil, moringa, and more, it’s the perfect lullaby in a cup.
- Any of our tisanes (herbal teas), which are all naturally caffeine-free.
- And our decaf teas, of course, are a great choice.
Deep Sleep Latte Recipe
If you love lattes a latte, try this Deep Sleep Latte recipe instead of an unhealthy snack or sugary dessert. You can make it hot or cold, it’s up to you!
- Hemp Moringa Deep Sleep Wellness Blend tea
- ½ cup plant-based milk (oat, almond, cashew, coconut)
- 2 tsp local honey
- Brew 1 tbsp of Deep Sleep in 8 oz. of water just under the boiling point (180 degrees Fahrenheit). Steep for 5 minutes
- Heat milk on the stove, whisking often
- Combine tea and milk in a blender and blend on high for 10 seconds
- Pour into a mug (or glass with ice), curl up in your comfy spot and enjoy!
Other Resources and Ideas
While there are lots of other things you can do or purchase to help with a good night’s sleep, like a more comfortable mattress or a white noise machine-- and you probably already have some faves that you use to achieve sleep nirvana-- here are a few more that we thought we’d recommend.
- Podcasts. Believe it or not, there are actually podcasts designed specifically to help you sleep. We found an awesome list on this blog post. From monotone gibberish to bedtime stories for adults to meditations, find something here sure to have you nodding off right in the middle (that’s ok, it’s what they’re for!).
- Yoga for Sleep. Seems like there’s a yoga for everything (and with good reason). Check out these restorative yoga poses for sleep. No, Sleepy Twisted Pigeon is not one of them.
- Books. Reading is a great way to get your mind to slow down and let go of the day. Grab whatever’s on your nightstand instead of turning on the tv for a quiet way to slip into a sleepy state of mind. Interested in knowing more about why sleep is important? Arianna Huffington, co-founder, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, has written The Sleep Revolution, a book about how lack of sleep and the idea of viewing it as “wasted time” is negatively impacting our society.
- Caravan. Saving the best for last... do you know about Caravan? Caravan is a wellness site that is bursting with all kinds of transformational resources to help you live your best life, including meditations for sleep. If you’re not already signed up, we’ve got a sweet deal for Harney tea fans. You can sign up for a free seven-day trial and 50% off your Caravan subscription for up to six months. Learn more and redeem this Harney-only offer at our partnership site.
Happy holistic health, and sweet dreams!