Sunday 29 November 2020

Press Samples / Unpaid AD - Sleep With Ease With Pukka Herbs*

It's really hard, especially at the moment to overestimate the importance of sleep. We're all feeling a little bit frazzled, stressed out, and a little bit under the weather at the moment, and more often than not life's upsets are reflected in our quality of sleep.

Good sleep plays a huge role in both our physical and mental wellbeing, it's essential for cell regeneration, to recharge our cardiovascular system, and to support our immune system, as well as improving mental clarity, helping with decision making and helping us to cope with stress.

I probably struggle more than most with my sleep. Thanks to my struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / CFS / ME and Fibromyalgia, I alternate between utter exhaustion, I can go without sleep for more than 24 hours, or I can sleep for 18 hours solid and still feel exhausted, there really isn't a lot of middle ground. 

Alongside medical advice and intervention, I'm always looking for new ways to improve my sleep health. I've tried a lot of things from acupuncture, to cognitive behavioural therapy, and various other little things that I'll mention later in this post, but I am always on the look out for new ways to help me sleep.

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Pukka, and I was invited to take part in their "Sleep With Ease" campaign. If you haven't heard of Pukka, they are a substantial, ethical and organic herbal company that produce a wide range of herbal infusions that aim to benefit the health of people, plants and the planet and they very kindly sent three boxes of caffeine free, herbal blends from their range to help me on my quest for better sleep.

Pukka recognise the importance of sleep for our mental and physical health, and in an attempt to help us improve both our sleep health and our wider health, they have introduced their 7 day Sleep With Ease programme, which is specifically designed to help us create a space, pattern and routine to help us sleep better.

Designed to be used alongside their herbal blends, their website contains a whole load of information and downloads to help you eliminate bad sleeping habits, establish routine, and train both your body and brain to help you sleep better.As I say, I'm up for anything that can send me into the land of nod, so I decided to give the 7 day Sleep With Ease programme a try.  

The website features a downloadable sleep diary that you can fill in, as well as a list of changes that you can can make across the course of a the week to help you improve your sleep.

The idea is that you introduce one new element everyday until all of the tips become a part of your daily sleep routine. Some of the tips as you can see are actually quite simple, and in theory they are, it's just about putting them into practise. 

My biggest issue sleep wise has always been with routine, going to bed late, sleeping late, and then wondering why I can't sleep at night. It makes total sense, go to sleep at roughly the same time of night, and wake up at similar team each morning. It takes a little bit of effort and I'm not going to lie dragging myself out of bed when I'm exhausted is difficult but after a few days it begins to feel normal, and now I can pretty much wake up without having to set an alarm.

Another thing that I have an issue with is technology, I have a tv and a dvd player in my bedroom and whilst I don't usually have my MacBook in my bedroom at night, I do have my phone, and my iPad plugged in, in my room, but the key is to have cut off times, plug things into charge by all means but don't check your phone, or start flicking through Instagram when you're trying to get ready for sleep.

We are all guilty of it, if it's not watching one more episode of a tv show, flicking through Facebook, or getting annoyed with someone on twitter, it's watching the late night news and depressing yourself. Sleep is all about de-stressing, and concentrating on something, or getting stressed and upset just sends your brain into overdrive when you really should be preparing for sleep, so switch off the tv, your computer, and phone for an hour or so before you go to bed and you really will notice a difference in your sleep health.

One of the other tips, that the team from Pukka recommend is to cut down on your caffeine consumption. I'm not a huge tea and coffee drinker compared to lot of people, but my nightly cuppa is definitely a thing, and even though tea usually contains less caffeine than coffee, it is still a stimulant and it could be disrupting your sleep without you realising.

The Pukka Sleep With Ease programme advises that you should try to avoid caffeine after 12pm, so instead of caffeine filled soft drinks, the odd latte, and iced coffees, I've switched to some of Pukka's caffeine free herbal blends including their Elderberry & Echinacea, which has lovely some fresh hedgerow berry, ginger, and liquorice flavours, their Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey blend, and their chamomile, fennel, and ginger flavoured Relax blend.

As part of their sleep programme Pukka recommend that you drink a mug of their 'Night Time' tea every night. So instead of my caffeine laden cuppa, at around 8pm, I've been drinking this blend of lime flower, chamomile and lavender flowers, oat flower tops, liquorice root and valerian root instead

Designed to help you unwind before bed, this particular tea is caffeine free and contains 28% fair wild ingredients, and 33% fair trade ingredients, the bags themselves are plastic free, are fully recyclable and compostable, and they also feature organic cotton strings.

All you do is pop your bag into a mug of boiling water, and then let it infuse for around 15 minutes before drinking. Given then floral ingredients such as lavender and chamomile I was expecting the Night Time blend to have more of a floral taste but instead it had a surprisingly sweet, pleasant, herbal liquorice / aniseed type flavour.

Drinking the tea at night immediately sent me into wind down mode. After drinking it I switched off my blue screen electronics, and usually had a warm (but not too hot) shower with a calming lavender based shower gel before settling into bed, and reading a non stressful book for an hour before using some pillow spray, and settling down with either a guided meditation (there is a nice short one on the Pukka website) or some nature sounds on a timer until I fall asleep.

These are things that work for me but you could also add other things to help you sleep including ear plugs, eye masks, a fan, a white noise machine, or a story app. Everyone is different, there are basic things that should help most people fall asleep but you just need to find out what works for you. 

I've now actually been doing the Pukka Sleep With Ease campaign for more than 7 days now and I can safely say that following some of the suggestions in the plan, keeping a sleep diary, and drinking in particular the Night Time tea has made a difference.

I've managed to establish a proper sleep / wake routine and I've tried to eradicate some of my bad sleep habits. As I say drinking the Night Time tea became a real signal to me that the day was coming to an end and that I should start winding down and preparing myself for rest and sleep.

Unfortunately due to medical reasons I potentially am always going to have issues with my sleep but thanks to Pukka I've been reminded that making small differences and creating a workable routine can really help me to get a better and more restful nights sleep.

If you're struggling with your sleep at the moment I would thoroughly recommend that you try Pukka's 7 day Sleep With Ease programme. You can find out more on their website and of course I would really recommend that you try some of Pukka's herbal blends to help you improve your own sleep, mental, and physical health at this stressful time. Pukka Relax, Pukka Night Time, and the Pukka Herbal Collection retail at around £2.79 - £3 for a box of 20 teabags from various retailers including Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett.

 *Press Samples / Unpaid Advertisement / Promotion / Non Affiliate Links 

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