A sufficient sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It relaxes the mind and body, improves memory and helps you to live longer. A sound sleep also calms your tense muscles and helps you to think clearly after a night's rest.
For some people, falling asleep at night is not that easy. The mind doesn’t decrease activity and can even at times INCREASE, as the mind processes the events of the day or the worries of tomorrow. Taking sleeping pills may be a quick solution but there are certainly potential side effects that you may encounter. You may experience burning or tingling sensation in the hands and legs, poor appetite, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, daytime drowsiness or dry mouth.
If you are looking for options on how to achieve a sound sleep, there are natural methods you can take to finally reach your dreaming state.
Melatonin is a natural hormone in the body found in the brain's pineal gland. It is available in small amounts in meats, grains, fruits and vegetables. It can also be purchased over-the-counter as a food supplement. Experts say melatonin helps control the sleeping and waking cycles of an individual. What this does is makes a person drowsy before bed, which is what you really want – as that’s the first stage of sleep! This supplement also has immune-stimulating and antioxidant benefits to the body. Although negative side effects are rare, seek first your doctor's advice just in case if this is your first time taking melatonin.
Do you think too much when lying on your bed? As you worry about your daily activities and the things to do the next day, these fuel anxiety which in the long run results in insomnia. Calm your body by taking some 'awareness breathing' exercises to help you sleep faster and better. Do some deep breathing patterns to relax your senses and disconnect you from life's stresses. Do inhale-exhale breathing techniques as your mind and body calm down. Forget temporarily any negative thoughts and take gradual and steady breathing until you fall asleep. Personally, I have found youtube guided relaxation videos very helpful too! With or without words is fine, just experiment and see what’s best for you.
Studies claim yoga helps decrease symptoms of insomnia. You can meditate regularly for about 30 to 45 minutes. Yoga, as a form of meditation, is seen to improve symptoms of chronic insomnia. Even among cancer survivors, sleep disturbances are being remedied by yoga by training the participants about the proper movements, breathing, and relaxation techniques to enhance the quality of the patients' sleep. Meditation has also been known to keep you looking younger (visit this website for tips on staying looking young), longer!
Passionflower (passiflora) is another herbal remedy widely used in South America. It is popular and proven to help individuals to sleep and relax. Some sodas have this as an ingredient . Studies noted this herb has calming effect. Also, it has pain-relieving benefits which control muscle spasms and relieve menstrual pains. Doctors recommend drinking a cup of this tea about 30 mins prior to sleep to minimize insomnia attacks.
Since we're on the topic of drinks before bed - it's fairly obvious but don't drink coffee prior to bed time!
Total Lights Out
For many people, turning the lights off before bedtime is the best way to go. If your bedroom has flickering lights or a streetlight entering your room, or probably there is book light left open, these nuances may cause you some irritation causing you sleepless nights. Researchers claim too much light may affect your sleep cycles or interrupt your deep sleep. Before hitting your bed ensure you turn off all possible light sources to ensure sleeping soundly.
Valium is an effective sedative while Valerian tea is a great herbal remedy for sleep. Valerian's potency is comparable to the Valium family medication (oxazepam) eliminating the 'hang-over' effects brought by Valium drugs. Valerian has been commonly used for insomnia with several benefits such as deep sleep improvement, falling asleep faster and achieving quality of sleep without experiencing being sedated. The effectiveness of Valerian are seen when used for extended periods. For some, Valerian has energizing effects. Studies also suggest that this tea is more effective when taken continuously instead of a one-shot sleep aid. It can both calm the body and reduce anxiety during daytime.
One of our customers had the following to say about our organic Valerian root tea recently...
If herbal supplement is not your cup of tea, you can also try aromatherapy. Many essentials oils can be bought in health food stores that can help you fall asleep in less time. Choose from a variety of scents depending on your preference. One of the best scents widely used is Roman chamomile. It has a bright, apple-like scent. You may also have clary sage which has rich, sweet scent or the floral odors of geranium and lavender. Pour two to three drops of essential oils on your pillow or under the pillowcase. You can refresh this after a few days to once a week or as often as you change your bed covers. Easy, cheap, and effective!
The power of a simple and warm pre-bedtime bath gives a soothing feeling. It helps the muscles to relax. A hot bath prepares the body into a sleep mode as it relaxes the muscles. Taking a bath before bedtime is fine but at least give yourself half an hour before hitting the bed so your body's thermostat can cool down to get a deep sleep.
Optimize Your Relaxation Space
Is your environment suitable for a good night's sleep? Is it free from any barrier or obstructions like noise, lights or any potential distractions. Consider the mattress you are using, the pillow you are resting on, how dark is your room, and whether there are other noises that bug you. Do some common rituals like taking a bath before bedtime, reading a book or do some simple exercises.
Treat your bedroom as a sacred space for resting and sleeping. Avoid working on your bed or watching your favorite movies there. These activities will only make you stay awake while in bed. Fixing your bed in the morning can make it more inviting when it’s time to relax during the night.
Do a Regular Chore or Exercise
It may be difficult to sleep if you have not done so much work during the day. One way to spend excess energy is to take a stroll an hour daily. You are not required to walk briskly, just walk in a normal pace. Take the same route each day or explore your neighborhood by walking in any direction then return home. By doing a daily routine, it gives you enough energy to spare for your family, friends and yourself. You also get an additional bonus of less stress and improved overall health.
Write it Down
There may be times you are physically exhausted and don't really have the strength to do exercise, walking, or much at all! That's great, and the only thing left then is mental relaxation and releasing those mental thoughts onto paper. Sometimes it is necessary to take some effort to get up, put your thoughts on paper, and then try again to get back to bed. If you have many things to do, make a list and prioritize. Knowing what needs to be done has a calming effect on your mind. Sometimes you have to use pen and paper to ensure you will not forget your tasks. Through this, it gives the mind a leeway to relax and puts yours to a sound good night's rest.