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Do I really need a bedtime? A Naturopathic Doctor's tips to sleep better at night.

Do I really need a bedtime?

One of the most frequent symptoms I treat in the clinic is fatigue. Particularly, related to sleep. Of course there are many different sources of fatigue, but I think we all could do with sleeping a little bit more and a little more soundly.

We often prioritize our kiddos' bedtime, but as adults we have trouble settling down and sleeping for the night. Here are my top tips for getting a good night's rest.

Setting a bedtime and sticking to it

We know how much better our kids do with a set schedule and bedtime. Yet as adults, we often struggle to maintain that schedule for ourselves. An interesting term that I've heard recently is called revenge procrastination. This means that you feel like you haven't done what you wanted to do or needed to do during the day, so you stay up purposefully past your bedtime in order to do things that you enjoy.

In this way we eat into our bedtime, decrease our sleep and over time this can lead to significant fatigue. My number one tip is trying your best to find a bedtime that gives you the correct hours of sleep. 8 hours of quality sleep at night is recommended for men and there's some new research that women actually can do with more sleep and that 9 or 10 hours is more suitable for women.

Create a bedtime routine

Creating a bedtime routine is one of the best ways in order to help stick with our chosen bedtime. Bedtime routines can happen about 30 to 120 minutes before our expected lights out. Our body loves consistency. Beyond getting up and sleeping at the same time every night, one of my favorite ways to relax before bed is to have a nice sleepy time tea. Chamomile and lemon balm are very calming. I also make a tea blend in practice (IYKYK) that really helps kick start sleep. You might choose to do a low light activity such as reading a book, doing a puzzle, doing your skin care, all of these things train our brain to tell us that we should start getting sleepy as we associate these activities with sleep.


We all know that screens before bed aren't the best for our sleep quality. I find it's very difficult to put down the distractions before bed. Especially if you are doing the revenge procrastination as mentioned earlier, social media creates a sense of connection, but also is quite stimulating for our nervous system. This makes it harder to fall asleep. In addition, social media is quite addictive and has been engineered using your brain chemistry in order to keep you spending more time online.

Lately I've been switching up my social media for an e-reader. Which I do understand is an electronic, but the amount of blue light is significantly reduced. A good old fashioned book also works. Just be aware that once you start reading for fun it can be hard to put those books down which is what I'm currently working on!!

Food as medicine

There are a variety of different sleep supplements, but I tend to turn towards food based treatments as a first line. If you've seen the sleepy girl mocktail on social media, this is a nod to that.




Hemp seeds, nut butter etc.

Why this works: oatmeal has some nice relaxing qualities to it, it chills out the body and helps us feel sleepy. It can be a great bedtime snack. In addition to cherries, which are a natural source of melatonin, this creates a really good bedtime snack should you feel a little hungry before bed.

I don't believe the myth that you shouldn't eat before bed. Everyone is so different. I believe that if you're hungry you won't sleep well on an empty stomach: I don't think that you need to limit your food intake right before bed if you keep it to something small.

I like the addition of a healthy fat and protein and so I recommend hemp seeds or some kind of nut butter, almond butter, peanut butter etc. as this helps us stay fuller for longer so that you don't get a sugar spike right before bed.

I hope these tips help you snooze fitfully and help fight fatigue!

Dr. Larissa


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