How to sleep: Drink this herbal tea before bed to improve sleep quality

Getting a good night’s sleep can seem like an unattainable goal if you suffer from insomnia. It is estimated that one in three of people suffer from poor sleep – an issue that appears to have been compounded during lockdown. While everyday stresses can hamper a good night’s sleep, evidence suggests you do not have to make sweeping changes to your lifestyle to address sleep loss.

In fact, it may be as simple as drinking a particular herbal tea before bed.

Purple passionflower tea, which derives from the passion flower family, boasts properties that may induce sleep.

Participants in a study drank a daily dose of herbal tea with purple passionflower.

After seven days, they reported improvements in the quality of their sleep.

The researchers suggest that purple passionflower may help adults manage mild sleep irregularities.

Studies suggest that passionflower works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

GABA is a naturally-occurring amino acid that reduces activity in the central nervous system.

This results in relaxation, enhanced mood, better sleep, and pain relief.

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Bolstering the association, evidence suggests that purple passionflower may also relieve anxiety.

A study reported in the journal Anesthesia and AnalgesiaTrusted Source examined its effects on patients scheduled for surgery.

Patients who consumed it reported less anxiety than those who received a placebo.

This finding is significant because anxiety is an underlying cause of insomnia.

General tips to aid sleep loss

Keeping regular sleeping hours can help to reset the sleep-cycle.

As the NHS explains, this programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.

According to the health body, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.

“By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule,” says the health body.

If sleep loss persists for several weeks or more, more specialist interventions may be necessary.

“Your GP may suggest referring you to psychological services to try a behavioural therapy,” says Bupa.

These may include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you to recognise and deal with any negative thoughts and habits around your sleep. CBT is often combined with one of the other methods.
  • Stimulus-control therapy can help you to re-associate your bed and bedroom with going to sleep and to create a regular sleep routine.
  • Relaxation therapy can help you relax your muscles and clear your mind of distracting thoughts.
  • Sleep-restriction therapy limits the amount of time you spend in bed to the time when you actually go to sleep. You can then gradually increase the time you spend in bed as your sleep improves.

“Your GP may refer you to an appropriate specialist who can provide these therapies, or they may provide you with self-help materials,” adds Bupa.

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