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The mother nature sleep prescription

Hypnos' sleep and wellbeing expert, Natalie Pennicotte-Collier, sheds light on how we can use mother nature to ensure we get the best night's sleep. Sleep is an essential function that helps to restore body and mind, encouraging learning, better mental health, faster growth, healing and recovery.


Go outside to watch the morning sunrise

This is a great sleep reset tip if you are wanting to wake up early!  This will anchor your internal clock and ensure you have a healthy circadian rhythm, which will improve sleep quality and duration.

Sleep research suggests that it’s critical to give our mind and body regular cues that signal to the brain when it’s time to wake up or rest. Over time, those cues will begin to trigger an automatic response in your sleep-wake cycle.


Natural light during the day is responsible for energy and motivation and also for improving sleep quality AT NIGHT.

Natural daylight signals our brain to produce serotonin to help wake us up, which when light levels decrease (and the absence of blue light), converts into melatonin, a natural sleep hormone. So if you don't get enough sunlight each day, your serotonin levels won’t reach optimal levels, which in turn results in diminished levels of melatonin at night. Studies show that light is vital to establishing consistent, healthy circadian rhythms. Morning light can increase alertness and be a pretty effective antidepressant.


take “nature breaks”

Regroup and refresh your mind by walking in a nearby park or garden during your lunch hour, for example. While you’re there, tune in to the sights, sounds, scents, and other sensory experiences. The more breaks you can take and go into nature, the better for your sleep wellbeing. If you can’t fit a walk into your work schedule, consider setting your home office up near a window. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study showed that people exposed to more sunlight during the workday enjoyed a higher overall sleep quality than people in windowless work environments.exercise.png


Daytime exercise: even better in natural daylight and a green/blue space

Movement is a natural sleep aid, stimulating the production of serotonin which helps the body to adjust, which results in fewer sleep challenges and reduced tiredness. Exercising not only promotes the release of energy but also enhances the body’s ability to enter deep sleep stages.  Exercise outdoors if you can, as the light helps to reset the body's circadian rhythm.   

Everyone wants a good night’s sleep, and by being a bit more active during the day, this can be an easily achievable sleep aid for many of us. Combining fresh air, physical exertion, and exposure to nature’s beauty creates a holistic approach to sleep improvement.


Watch the sunset

As well as being a relaxing way to finish your day, it’s good to remember that the light wavelengths that the sun emits at sunset signals to our brains that it's time to start winding down and get ready for sleep.   Again its all about supporting your body’s circadian rhythm so it produces melatonin at the right time helping to prepare for regular great sleep.



Choose lighter evening meals

An earlier mealtime packed with healthy natural food sources, protein & nutrient-dense plants and vegetables all support a healthy brain and sleep. Avoid eating heavily late in the evening as this will make it harder to get good sleep.


Soothing, natural world playlist

It’s well established that sounds of nature can help calm the mind. We can all identify with the relaxing effect of walking in a forest, the sound of water in a stream, or the gentle sound of wind whistling through leaves on a pleasant day. Researchers have discovered that nature sounds change the connections in our brains, soothing the body's fight-or-flight response.

Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England have determined that nature’s sounds, in contrast to artificial man-made noise, build up the “rest-digest” response. This opposite response to “fight-or-flight” helps the body relax and fall asleep. The study explored the impact of listening to nature sounds on sleep quality. Participants who listened to natural sounds reported improved subjective sleep.

Gentle nature sounds have a rhythm that’s deeply rooted and a calming impact on our brain dating back thousands of years. In essence, slow natural noises are the sounds of non-threats, which makes them relaxing and effective in calming down people. That is why natural sounds like the pitter-patter of rain or the crash of ocean waves have the ability to help you fall asleep and reduce stress.


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