April marks Stress Awareness Month, a time for healthcare experts to get together to increase awareness of stress, what causes it, and discuss ways of coping with it in our daily lives.
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina, is an advocate of mindfulness and suggests giving an adult colouring book a try to shut off and rest the mind. “This slows the mind down taking the brain from beta mode (highly stimulated) into the alpha-theta states which are almost meditative, this enables and calms the nervous system preparing the mind/body for deep, restorative sleep.”
If colouring isn’t your thing, why not take an extra bubbly bicarbonate bath? Add two mugs of sodium bicarbonate to a bath of comfortably hot water and immerse yourself completely for 20 minutes. The bicarbonate neutralises the skin’s acidity, softens dry skin and is a good aid in detoxification. Don’t use soap or shampoo as the chemicals will reduce the effect. Rinse off and go to bed soon afterwards.
Struggle to shut off at night? Dr Nerina advises some gentle exercise. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress hormone levels, thus enabling you to sleep more deeply. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend three or four sessions of aerobic exercise such as swimming, cycling, jogging or fast walking, for 20-30 minutes per week.