It’s time for all of us to redefine what “medicine” is. For many people, the word medicine conjures up images of orange plastic bottles that you pick up at the pharmacy. While it is undoubtedly true that the pills inside those bottles are medicines… there are many more medicines in our lives that aren’t pills at all.
One of the most powerful, safe, and effective medicines out there is… sleep. A wise woman (who happens to be my beautiful and brilliant wife) once said, “sleep is my drug of choice.” And she’s right… sleep is medicine, and even with unlimited refills, it won’t cost you a dime.
Millions of Americans struggle to get enough sleep each night. It is likely that you have suffered a time or two from insomnia. Long nights spent tossing and turning, watching the clock tick. While occasional bouts of sleeplessness can be overcome, chronic insomnia takes its toll on both physical as well as mental health.
Sleep is a fundamental human need. It is necessary for virtually all bodily functions. Without enough quality shut-eye, we have a much-heightened risk for a number of serious medical conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. When we sleep, our bodies secrete important hormones that regulate appetite, metabolism and blood sugar regulation.
When we don’t sleep well, we see measurable increases in blood levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. In addition, depriving your body of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances across the entire endocrine system. This can affect insulin levels in response to meals which, coupled with elevated cortisol levels, can lead to excessive glucose in the bloodstream and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
From a mental/emotional perspective, sleep may be even more critical. Studies have shown that when people are deprived of rapid eye movement sleep, it has a negative impact on learning and recollection. Lack of sleep is also related to conditions such as ADHD, stress, anxiety, and depression. Bottom line, lack of sleep messes with the brain and causes all kinds of bad things to happen to our processing center.
There are a number of things you can do to help promote a restful night’s sleep including sticking to a regular sleep schedule, avoiding screen time for at least one hour before bed, sleeping in a cool room, using essential oils, exercise, eating a healthy diet, deep breathing and meditation and more.
Here are a few delicious bedtime drinks that will help set the state for better night’s sleep. Enjoy these drinks about thirty minutes before turning in.
Vegan Sweet Dreams Pumpkin Drink
This lightly sweet and deliciously spiced caffeine free drink will warm you to sleep.
- 2½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- optional: vegan whipped cream + walnuts for garnish
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and warm on medium-low heat.
Mushroom Chocolate Latte
This drink is made with reishi mushrooms that have powerful therapeutic benefits. Reishi mushrooms can boost your immune system, detoxify the body and slow aging. The mushroom blends well with cocoa and Indian ginseng to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp reishi mushroom powder
- 1/2 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- Dash of cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup (add less or more to taste)
- Add all ingredients to a blender and cream together.
Dairy Free Lavender Infusion
Lavender is an aromatic herb with potent anti-anxiety and stress relieving properties. This dairy-free drink is soothing, contains healthy fat and protein and has a sweet and earthy taste.
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- two pinches sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried edible lavender buds
- 2 teaspoons honey plus more to taste
- Combine the water, hemp seeds, walnuts, vanilla and salt, and mix until smooth.
- Heat mixture over medium heat until steam rises. Remove from heat.
- Place dried lavender into a disposable beat bag and immerse in milk. Cover pan.
- Stir in honey and serve.
-The UpWellness Team