Last week we looked at some of the heath problems caused by inadequate sleep. This week we’ll explore some natural means to improve sleep:
• Establish a routine: go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends! Be consistent with naps.
• Avoid stressful activities (TV, video games, homework, discussing your “relationship” with your spouse) for an hour before bed.
• Listen to relaxing music or read a relaxing enjoyable book (not a horror murder mystery!). Try journaling your thoughts to help you unwind.
• Keep your bedroom completely dark – remove night lights, cover clock/radio dials, use light-tight window blinds. Wear an eye mask if necessary. The pineal gland produces melatonin and serotonin only in the dark.
• Avoid coffee and alcohol in the evening.
• Empty your bladder just before bed and don’t drink any fluid for several hours before bedtime to minimize getting up in the night.
• Eat a high protein snack with a small piece of fruit prior to bedtime.
• Exercise in the morning or early afternoon; a gentle relaxing activity in the evening may help you relax.
• Get a massage as often as possible – my clients often comment that they sleep better after a massage treatment.
• Apply essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, citrus, Jasmine or Sandalwood to your face (avoid the eyes), soles of the feet, or your pillow.
• Drink a cup of chamomile tea or a herbal blend designed as a sleep aid.
• There are many effective herbal and nutritional sleep aid supplements.
• Melatonin is an effective sleep aid – use the lowest strength that works for you.
• If stress is keeping you awake, nutritional formulas to help you deal with excess cortisol should help.
Sources: “Snooze it or lose it!” by Irene Seiberling, The Star Phoenix, March 8, 2011 B6; www.mercola.com
Wishing you all a good night’s sleep!
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.