First, you have to prioritise sleep! Most of us don’t follow the same sleep rules as every other sensible human being. Our lives are infiltrated with stimuli — and we keep stimulated until the moment we get into bed. This is not the way to get restful sleep. So, it’s no wonder we can’t sleep well when we eat late dinners, answer emails, surf the Internet, and then get right into bed and watch the evening news.

Instead we must take a little “holiday” in the two hours before bed. Creating a sleep ritual — a special set of little things you do before bed to help ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep — can guide your body into a deep, healing sleep.

Here’s how restore your natural sleep rhythm. It may take weeks or months, but using these tools in a coordinated way will eventually reset your biological rhythms:

  • Practice the regular rhythms of sleep — go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Use your bed for sleep and romance only — not reading or television
  • Create an aesthetic environment that encourages sleep — use serene and restful colours and eliminate clutter and distraction and create total darkness and quiet by using eyeshades and earplugs
  • Avoid caffeine — it may seem to help you stay awake but actually makes your sleep worse, and avoid alcohol — it helps you get to sleep but causes interruptions in sleep and poor-quality sleep
  • Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes daily — the light from the sun enters your eyes and triggers your brain to release specific chemicals and hormones like melatonin that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and aging
  • Eat no later than three hours before bed — eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep, and don’t exercise vigorously after dinner — it excites the body and makes it more difficult to get to sleep
  • Write your worries down — one hour before bed, write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you might have to do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into deep and restful sleep
  • Take a hot salt/soda aromatherapy bath — raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep. A hot bath also relaxes your muscles and reduces tension physically and psychically. By adding one-and-a-half to one cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) and one-and-a-half to one cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to your bath, you will gain the benefits of magnesium absorbed through your skin and the alkaline-balancing effects of the baking soda, both of which help with sleep
  • Warm your middle — this raises your core temperature and helps trigger the proper chemistry for sleep. Either a hot water bottle, heating pad, or warm body can do the trick
  • Avoid medications that interfere with sleep, including sedatives, antihistamines, stimulants, cold medication, and headache medication that contains caffeine.

If you are still having trouble sleeping, you should be evaluated by your doctor for other problems that can interfere with sleep, and remember — don’t skimp on sleep! It is one of the most powerful healing treatments available if you want to achieve lifelong vibrant health.

For more on sleep, we recommend The Promise of Sleep by William C. Dement MD, PhD (Random House, 1999).

Kind regards and best wishes to everyone from the Jim & Sheila and the team at

Freephone: 0800 023 6252

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