Winter's darkest night has arrived. Inspired by the longest night, am trying to prioritize sleep, I swear! It is the most natural thing for our bodies to turn toward this time of year, and yet it can be an elusive routine for many reasons.
Here are a couple of my reasons this season:
~The gift muse has arrived and I cannot stop making the most amazing herbal holiday gifts late into the night
~Late night online shopping (I endorse shopping locally, but it's so fun to window shop!)
~I fall asleep at 8 with the kids and awaken at 11:30, ready for some "me" time. Seriously, can I consider latent insomnia "me" time? It's all in the attitude!
~Straight up Insomnia
Insomnia is one reason that can perplex even those who are incredibly type A with their sleep hygiene (dark room, lights out by 10, no screens after dinner, dim lights in the evening, low stimulation).
Introducing our favorite nourishing adaptogen for sleep, Ashwaganda, or Withania somnifera. She brings the strength of a horse through the routine of deep sleep. This is an herb I can get behind.
My oldest child is now ten years old. I became a mama after 31 years of literally never stopping once to slow down. I spent a lifetime going hard in each moment. And now that I am at a point in my life in which I really value rest, it's laughing at me from a very, very early morning hour each night. "Ha ha ha, you thought you didn't need me. You thought I was a choice, but now I want to have a conversation about this...at 3 a.m." And so, I am giving a shout out to the nightly routine of drinking warming, relaxing Ashwaganda milk to encourage and promote sleep. When taken regularly, this herbal remedy helps to relax the body into sleep while it nourishes the systems of the body.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic neurorestorative. In other words, this simply means that over the course of a few months, this herb helps decrease the body's perceived levels of stress (mental, physical, emotional, immunological) while restoring the frazzled edges of one's nervous system. Enter a baseline of relaxation, the necessary state of being to attract a good night's sleep.
This herb has been studied as adaptogenic, antioxidant, anticancer, anxiolytic, antidepressant, cardioprotective, thyroid modulating, immunomodulating, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, cognitive enhancing and hematopoietic agent. It builds and strengthens through relaxation and calming. Using it is an invitation to rest. To sleep. And through these avenues, to strengthen. Milk has qualities that make it the perfect medium with which to imbibe the Ashwagandha. I invite you to try this recipe to warm your winter nights.
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp ashwagandha powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
Heat milk, whisk in the powders. Remove from heat and add in maple syrup.