We all experience times when sleep remains elusive but when it becomes chronic it starts effecting all areas of life. This means the sooner someone can find natural remedies for sleeplessness, the better. Avoiding medication to combat insomnia is important because the initial relief someone may find in taking sedative will be diminished over time, as the body builds resistance to those medications.
What Is Insomnia
Sleeplessness or Insomnia is a sleep disorder more common than you might think. Effecting large numbers of adults either as an acute or short term condition of a few days or weeks, or chronic long-term, lasting months or more longer.
The average adult should have 7 to 8 hours good sleep per night but insomnia can cause a person to wake early without the inability to go back to sleep, or in extreme cases fail to sleep at all. The result being chronic tiredness, low energy levels, poor mood and general unhappiness.
What Is The Cause Of Insomnia
This can be caused by a variety of reasons from anxiety, depression, or as the result of work or home related stress or even a traumatic event.
Ways To Treat Insomnia
Fortunately, Insomnia is not something you have to accept and suffer with, because using some simple rules and changing daily habits, symptoms can be reduced.
Although there are two main schools of thought when it comes to resolving insomnia that does not mean it’s an either or fix, it’s more a case of finding the fix that’s the best fit for the individual. There is the ‘self help’ variety of meditation and mindfulness, and there is the idea of changing habits and using natural supplements to aid sleep.
Mindfulness Based Therapy For Insomnia
Mediation is all about being ‘Mindful’ that is to say totally aware of your surroundings and your own being and how your thoughts and feeling effect you within your environment. If you can have a complete understanding of self, peace will prevail and there is nothing to be worried about. This process consists of slow breathing and stillness, allowing you to observe your breath, body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they rise and pass.
Meditation can be practiced anywhere at anytime as an individual or as a group so perhaps joining a class is an idea? Consistent use of this method are said to reduce stress, improve concentration, and boost immunity and goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle.
Founded by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago, Yogo has been tried, tested and proved to alleviate stress, improve physical functioning, and boost mental focus. Choosing a style like Yin or restorative yoga with a focus on meditation and breathing will have a positive effect. The slow movements both relax and focus the body and mind aiding relaxation and sleep.
Try to perform postures before bed can help you to relax and unwind for 20 minutes, but never over do it by pushing too hard and causing injury.
The repeating of a mantra or positive affirmation can have the psychological effect of helping to focus and calm the mind.
The mantra itself can be anything that serves to center your positivity and re-enforce those aspects of your life you feel need work. It should be calming and pleasant but also a positive present tense statement, easy enough for you to focus on the repetition, which will enable you to relax. This can be done aloud or internally at any time of day, to background music or silence.
This could be likened to auto suggestion technique used in hypnosis.
Natural Remedies For Sleeplessness
Aside from a good diet exercise is your other best friend in the fight against Insomnia. If you care to research the effects of exercise on insomnia you will see evidence that people who exercise on a regular basis experience better sleep then their less active counterparts. It is suggested that those who take 60 mins exercise five days a week have more REM sleep than non-exercisers.
The act of exercising has a cumulative effect on the body reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, enhancing mood, giving increased energy levels, weight loss, and promote better sleep.
Exercise’s ability to promote feelings of well being and relaxation and reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression etc are linked to the endorphins released during a workout, so being active and staying active is really a win win situation.
For the best effects, it is suggested by experts that exercise could be more effective in he morning so a 20 min strength training or vigorous aerobic exercise before starting the day is going to set you up with more energy through the day, the ability to sleep later the same day and increase testosterone levels.
This is a commonly understood relaxation technique. A professional massage is known to reduce feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression, while a partner massage has the added value of intimacy, so enjoy.
he sunlight runs your body clock triggering the release wake-promoting hormones or other ones designed to leave you feeling relaxed and sleepy, like melatonin.
When your hypothalamus senses a change in light, it instructs the body to ramp up or down its production of melatonin. That means in the morning you should flood your room with daylight and sit next to a window as much as possible to keep energy levels up. Equally, at night make sure to keep light sources to a minimum before bed.
Other Ways To Combat Insomnia
Using food and supplements to promote sleep and eat sleep pro foods and avoid compounds that steal sleep.
We already ‘know We Are What We Eat’ but what we eat does effect how we sleep in a profound way. Certain chemicals in food can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a night from hell. We this is mind here are some foods and properties to help you plan your evening meals.
Cheese. Cheese is rich in tryptophan which is an amino acid required to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which your body uses to make you feel feel relaxed and sleepy.
Almonds. Almonds are a great source of calcium and magnesium that experts agree are important for achieving quality sleep, in addition to tryptophan.
Salmon. Like tuna, sardines, or mackerel, salmon is rich Like in omega-3 fatty acid DHA to aid sleep.
Whole-grain crackers. Slow burn heavy Carbs are responsible spikes in blood sugar which regulating your body’s sleep-wake clock so better to opt for the lighter whole grain cracker.
Cherries. Put simply cherries are an edible source of the sleep hormone melatonin. What more do I say?
Low-fat milk. This source of calcium helps keep your body’s melatonin production in check and if you suffer heartburn the mixture of high protein and low carbs can keep acid reflux away.
Bananas. Rich in sleep-promoting carbohydrates and tryptophan potassium and magnesium. A true super fruit to promote muscle relaxation.
Coffee and caffeine-rich drinks. The properties you are looking for in a coffee stay with you for 6 hours so this is a morning drink or early afternoon.
Spicy foods. If you like spice such as Tabasco you have probably heard it promotes digestion. While that may be true, it also seems to keep you awake at night, possibly due to a raise your body temperature
Fatty foods. Fatty foods are more difficult to on your digestive system and we see people with high fat diets take less sleep.
Natural Remedies for Sleep
We are steering clear of medication in favor of natural products. As with everything else these are not magic bullet but tools that help you in your overall pursuit of good quality sleep, so let’s take a look. Remember, always read the box and seek medical advise if you are unsure.
Chamomile tea. A centuries old remedy used for relaxation, this acts as a mild sedative aiding to calm nerve and eases anxiety. It taste nice too.
St. John’s wort. Used to treat a multitude of symptoms from anxiety, insomnia and depression this can be used to make a tea, but a side a effect can make skin sensitive to UV rays, so don’t drink as a summer drink.
Valerian. The root of a flower plant like chamomile is used to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation and has been seen to help people sleep more soundly.
Kava. Like valerian this favorite of the Pacific Islanders is used for relaxation and insomnia but it is not recommended for long term use, due to potential liver damage over long periods of use
Passionflower. A teaspoon of passionflower in hot water acts as a mild sedative and tastes great.
Melatonin. The chemical can be found in a bowl of tart cherries but it might turn out to be expensive. Supplements are available and can work well, but to understand the dosage please ask for medial advise.
California poppy. Another product that you can make as a hot drink in order to visit the land of nod.
Lavender. Taking 20 to 80 mg orally or as directed can improve mood, reduce pain and help bring about sleep. Although taking orally is more effective it can also be sprayed onto a pillow at night.
Magnesium. This is a naturally occurring mineral known to aid muscle relaxation, stress relief and encourage healthy sleep patterns.
As a supplement men may take up to 400 mg daily, and women can take up to 300 mg daily. An alternative way to take this is to add 1 cup of magnesium flakes to your evening bath and lets the compound be absorbed through your skin.
Side effects include stomach and intestinal issues so always seek medical advise before using.
A Sleep Friendly Environment
As with most things in life there are many paths to achieve the results we seek. So far we know how to promote sleep through physical exercise, supplements , and mindfulness, but there are still thing we can do to improve our chances of sleeping well.
Tune Out. You may or may not realize this but you should never take a tablet or mobile device to bed. If you want to read then do it old school. The light of an electronic device will light up the receptors in your brain like the 4th of July, keeping you awake for hours.
Night Showering. This may not be for everyone but if it works then it’s worth a try. Taking a shower before bed rather than waiting until the morning gives your nervous system permission to relax and subsequently permission to sleep.
Lower the temp. It may not be anything you gave thought to but expert say the ideal temp for sleeping is between 60 and 72 degrees. It may be true, or perhaps not. But it’s worth experimenting with.
Light out. We know melatonin uses light to kick start us and power us down. So make sure it does its job correctly by turning all the lights out.
Stop the noise. This may not be possible depending where you live but if possible you want silence. In any event, be sure to have ear plugs.
Best bedding. Bedding with natural fibres like cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, and linen are the best because they can breath, so you can avoid waking put drenched in your own sweat. I know, gross.
No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of their own sweat. Stick with bedding made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, and linen. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester that trap heat and moisture.
The Mattress. In life you should have one pair of good shoes, a good suit, and the best mattress, because at some point of the day you will be in one or more of them. Don’t save money on your mattress, get the best you can afford, it will repay you time and time again with sleep and good posture. Enough said?
Finally- Avoiding Stress
If it’s normal for you to lie in bed with the days’ happenings running through your mind you are not alone. You are in the company of an estimated 40% of Americans who fail to get enough sleep and feel tired and stressed through the day. As you will already understand their situation creates more pressure, anxious, stressed, creating an unhealthy stress feedback loop. The only hope is to get some sleep.
Only one more ideas left in this marathon post.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
We are actively trying to sleep but this can be a mistake, but active relaxation of your physical body can be an effective way of stopping the loop back. This method is a mixture of disciplines like Yoga and Meditation. This is when you are mindful of your entire body and you can now notice how your different parts feel.
Now you can select muscle groups, let’s say hands. Feel how tense your hands are from the inside out and imagine the muscles creating the tension. Now start releasing that tension and soon you can feel you body parts relaxing as you select them one by one and relax them.
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Thanks for visiting. See you next time.
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