Sleep is vital to life. If you are not getting enough of it your physical and mental health will begin to suffer, and you will become more prone to road and work accidents, among many other things. Sleep is the time when our bodies heal and rejuvenate, allowing us to focus better, increase our mood, and in general, it’s a key contributor to our overall wellbeing. Bottom line? The human body, cannot function efficiently without proper sleep. If you find yourself in a position where getting a good night’s sleep is becoming a problem, maybe you’re tossing and turning, or your mind is unable to settle, don’t worry. There are some great all-natural solutions for a better sleep, including choosing a pillow that suits your sleeping position.
Melatonin to the Rescue
Let’s start with the bad news first. With all the modern-day technology were exposed to that produce artificial light such as TV’s, computers, and phones, our brain gets tricked into thinking it’s daytime, and it doesn’t produce the natural melatonin that it should. Melatonin is the hormone secreted by the brain that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. It is referred to as the “Dracula of hormones” because it only comes out in the dark. When we don’t have enough of it, well, we just we can’t sleep.
Now for some good news! Melatonin is also available as a supplement and has been proven to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, you can benefit from the natural source of melatonin your body produces by adjusting your interaction with light sources.
- Do not watch TV or scroll through your phone late at night. Reading is a much better choice if you are having sleep issues.
- Keep computers, TVs, and phones out of your bedroom.
- Since light is a stimulant make sure that your room is dark enough to sleep.
- Use curtains or eye masks to block out any excess light.
Valerian is Very Useful!
Valerian is an herbal extract made from the root of the valerian plant. It is one of the leading natural supplements for managing sleep disorders as it acts as a sedative to the brain. Research has shown that valerian can improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep without having to deal with morning grogginess. However, it more effective if taken over a longer period of time rather than just one night.
Calcium and Magnesium are a Winning Combo
Have you heard the old wives’ tale that a glass of warm milk before bed can help you sleep? Well, it’s true! Calcium helps the brain create melatonin. If you suffer from a calcium deficiency, you could indeed develop insomnia! Any form of calcium will do the trick, and the process is strengthened if you consume calcium and magnesium together.
Magnesium is a known as the calming nutrient. Studies have shown that someone who has a higher magnesium level tends to sleep deeper and better. There are plenty of food sources and supplements that can provide your body with this essential element such as:
- Goat’s milk
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Black Beans
Aromatherapy has been proven over and over again to provide the tools for some much-needed shut-eye. With no side effects such as the grogginess or brain fog that some other sleep enhancers provide, essential oils have been used successfully to aid in serious insomnia issues.
Oils such as lavender are known to have a relaxing effect on the body. Inhaling lavender prior to bed has been reported to provide a better night’s sleep as well as more daytime energy.
Beneficial oils for better sleep include:
- Bergamot oil
- Lavender oil
Herbal Teas for Sleep
Teas have been used as natural remedies for thousands of years. Aside from the medicinal value most teas have, just the warmness of the beverage alone elicits calm and relaxing feelings. There are many teas that have been used as sleep aids. One of the most popular is
Chamomile. Chamomile acts as a mild tranquilizer and is a great sleep-inducer. Its sedative effects are triggered within the brain by a flavonoid the tea possess called, apigenin. One cup 30 minutes before bed should do the trick!
Meditation and relaxation techniques before bedtime could have a profound effect on sleep patterns. Professionals recommend shutting off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime and sitting quietly. This could mean reading a book, focusing on soft music, deep breathing or an evening yoga flow. In fact, those who study meditation and mindfulness in their daily lives have been reported to have fewer insomnia issues regardless of their sleep hygiene patterns.