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How to Get Better Quality Sleep

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  • I brought a bottle of De-stuff for my 11 month old daughter yesterday who has had a runny nose for the last 5 days, I've been wiping her nose constantly but after 2 doses of De-stuff I've only had to wipe her nose twice today. I wish I'd known about this sooner. I will be using this straight away in the future
    – Melissa Bayne
  • Received a bottle of children's chest syrup to trial and what can I say it's magic in a bottle!! After a single dose they didn’t cough the whole night which meant a better sleep for everyone after two days they were so much better and they liked the taste which is great, can't wait to try more of your products
    – Daniella Bhagat
  • Absolutely love baby balm. My 6 week old had flakey, dry skin and nothing I had tried was helping until I tried baby balm. Her skin is so much better. I can't believe how fast it worked. Thank you Kiwiherb!!!
    – Alex Lazzaro
  • My wife and I have been using this product for years and they are amazing and work fantastic!!! We have the all the children's stuff including the echinature, chest syrup, throats syrup and the De-stuff!!! Absolutely amazing products We love them
    – Craig Hume
  • On Sunday we bought De-Stuff for our 3 year old daughter who has struggled with a cold all week. After 2 doses of it, along with the Chesty formula, she slept so well that night and woke up looking and sounding so much better. Now almost 3 days later her cold is all but gone. I wish I had have found out about it sooner.
    – Bridgette Robinson
  • I'm not often inspired enough to go seek out a brand's Facebook page just to give them my positive feedback - in fact this is the first time ever. I just wanted to express how much I love the children's cough syrup, it's always worked wonders on my kids - it's now taken to the next level with the inclusion of the syringe which is long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle - hurray! It's always been the bane of my mum-life trying to reach the medicine when the bottles have run low with syringes that aren't long enough - thank you!
    – Melissa White
  • Brought a bottle of children's chest syrup and it works like magic no more coughing during the night. Also my son loves the taste
    – Philippa Quigley
  • I love Kiwiherb! Finding something that worked so well, and was safe for my daughter when she was at an age where she couldn't have all other medicines, it was such a great help! And now I use nothing else
    – Alyssa Francis-King

How to Get Better Quality Sleep

How to get better sleep

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About the Author

Asti Renaut

Asti Renaut (BHSc. Comp Med, BA, Adv Dip Nat, Adv Dip Herb Med, MNZAMH)

Asti Renaut is a degree-qualified medical herbalist and naturopath with over ten years clinical experience. Asti practices in Christchurch, New Zealand, treating a wide range of health issues. She especially enjoys working with infants and children, and finally has one of her own to practice on! One of the cornerstones of Asti's practice and philosophy is the importance of education and sharing information. She believes that empowering clients to understand their own bodies and health, and giving practical tips and tools to use from the garden and kitchen are just as important for wellness as qualified professional care. 

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Naturopathic Sleep Hygiene: Top Ten Tips

Part One*

Remember those hand-washing stickers in school bathrooms that featured cartoon hands and smiling soap bubbles? That’s what I think of when I hear the word ‘hygiene’. Hygiene basically means good habits. Just as the stickers were a way of reinforcing good bathroom habits in our early years, sometimes we need reminders to reinforce other good habits in our later years. This is especially so when it comes to sleep.

There is plenty of research to suggest that practising good habits around sleep and bedtime promotes more restful nights. The rhythmic nature of sleep is what we want to encourage, so practising regular daily rhythmic sleep routines can in itself help to coax our bodies towards slumber, as can each of these points independently. So here are some basic foundations for supporting good sleeps:

           1.  Daylight, Twilight, Dark:

Daylight: Research has consistently shown that exposing ourselves to natural daylight is beneficial for supporting good sleeps, so get out for a walk in the fresh air, even for half an hour.

Twilight: For those who have trouble sleeping, turning off our own ‘power’ switch at night is not a simple thing. Our bodies are not computers, however much we might expect them to be, and respecting the fact that there needs to be a space between ‘on’ and ‘off’ is the first step towards good sleeps. Observing a twilight period means quietening the mind before bed, but also literally means turning the lights down, avoiding screens (phones, tablets, any devices, and tv) and generally letting the brain and body wind down.

Dark: Ask any Baby Sleep Consultant and they will tell you that having a really properly dark room is one of the essential keys for helping a baby to sleep well. Adults are no different! Black-out curtains can make a huge difference if you are a light sleeper. Remember as humans we have spent most of our evolution in a world without electric lights!

          2.  Exercise: Exercise is great for sleeps, providing it isn’t done too late in the day when it may increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Ideally exercise in the morning 

          3.  No Naps: Avoid napping if possible, especially late in the day. Go to bed when you’re tired.

          4.  Regular rhythms: Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and wake at a similar time each morning, encouraging regular rhythms in our bodies . Often getting to bed before the ‘second wind’ of late night-owl activity gets hold can make a huge difference to how refreshed we feel in the morning.

          5.  Limit stimulants: If you are one of those people who boasts about being able to drink a coffee before bed and have no problems sleeping, you probably won’t be reading this! For most of us, coffee is a stimulant, as are other caffeine drinks such as tea and cola. In fact, this is kind of why we like them. Finding your caffeine tolerance level is an art in itself, for some people completely avoiding caffeine is the only way to sleep well, while for many people one coffee before 12 in the afternoon is just right. Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol are all stimulants, and should be avoided in the evening if you are having difficulties sleeping. While you might believe that another glass of red wine will lull you into a delicious slumber, in actual fact you may just wake up at 2am all hot and dehydrated. Long term also, alcohol depletes essential nutrients needed to relax the nervous system and support good sleeps.

          6.  The right food at the right times: Eat light at night, and not too late. Avoid heavy meals before bed. Be sure to have enough protein for dinner, or you may want a little protein snack such as cottage cheese on a cracker. This ensures you are not waking in the night hungry.

           7.  Beautiful beds: Make your bed a beautiful sanctuary. Make your bed, full-stop! We sleep better when bed is an inviting and snuggly place to be.

          8.  Hot baths, warm beds: Warmth and heat helps to encourage melatonin production. Melatonin is our sleep hormone. A warm bath helps to relax the body and encourage sleep. Have a hot water bottle, an electric blanket, fluffy pyjamas, whatever you need to be cosy.

          9.  Peace and joy: We all know that the more harmonious we are feeling, the better we can sleep. Emotional disturbance makes it especially difficult to get to sleep, but can also play on our minds in the dark hours of the night if we awaken. The cultivation of peace and nurturing the spark of joy in ourselves is a highly individual journey, but one of the biggest keys for good sleeps.

         10.  Herbal Support*:  The botanical world has so many beautiful allies on offer to help us in our quest for good sleeps. Whether you take a medicinal herbal tea before bed or are prescribed a herbal tonic by your practitioner, there are many ways to take herbal medicines to promote relaxation and sleep. Some of our very best herbs for all ages are Valerian and Chamomile; Passionflower, Skullcap and Hops are also used. For some people, calming the stress response during the day is the key to relaxing fully at night, and herbs such as Withania and Lemon Balm, coupled with extra B vitamins, are of great use for this and can be found in Kiwiherb StressCare. Also check with your practitioner that you aren’t in need of any extra magnesium or calcium, which are both important nutrients for nerve and muscle relaxation, and for good sleeps.

*watch out for Part Two due out in the Spring, where we focus on which herbal medicines are the most beneficial for sleep support.