In today’s busy world, people are sleeping less and having more sleep difficulties. Yet research is showing just how important 6 – 8 hours of sleep a night is. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause lots of problems. According to Harvard Health, lack of sleep affects learning and memory, metabolism and weight, safety, mood and the ability to concentrate, cardiovascular health, and alters the immune function including the activity of the body’s killer cells. And nothing shows more on your face than a poor night’s sleep.
The following habits will help you sleep better: a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine 4 – 6 hours before bed and keeping it to a minimum during the day, avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before bed, minimizing noise and excessive temperatures, not smoking especially before bedtime and getting regular exercise. But even if you follow these good habits, there are times when it’s hard to relax and turn your mind off so you can sleep. Rather than turning to brain-altering pharmaceuticals, try the natural remedies listed below to help you get a good night’s sleep.
For relaxation before bed, add 1 drop of chamomile oil to 1-teaspoon almond or jojoba oil and apply to your feet or skin. For anxiety, add 1 drop neroli oil to 1-teaspoon olive oil and massage into shoulders.
Try herb infused eye pillows, which you can either make yourself or find at craft’s fairs or body care shops. Not only do they block out the light, but the weight of the pillow on the eyes can be sedating and the herbs relaxing.
Valerian is an herb commonly used as a remedy for insomnia. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body used for sleep and jet lag. Both products can be found at health food stores and Whole Foods. And a new homeopathic remedy I just discovered is SleepEase, an herb, vitamin, and mineral based oral spray by Sprayology (they make a variety of homeopathic sprays for different ailments). My sister swears by it and “sprays” whenever she wakes to fall gently back to sleep. You can order it online at sprayology.com.
Eating magnesium-rich foods like legumes, seeds, dark leafy greens, nuts, molasses and whole grains can make a difference. Magnesium is a natural sedative and a deficiency can cause difficulty sleeping. Yoga and breathing exercises are also helpful.
Hopefully these simple solutions will help you sleep like a baby and improve the quality of your life. Sleep tight!
Information compiled from Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles, Harvard Health Publications, American Psychological Association, and About.com/Natural Sleep Remedies.