If you have trouble getting to sleep, you’re probably well aware of the devastating effects this can have on the rest of your life. Without sleep our bodies become worn out, inflamed, stressed, moody and more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses. Sleep is the body’s main mechanism for rejuvenation, repair and healing. Insomnia is a symptom characterized by the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Insomnia is just a symptom, not an illness in itself. It signifies that an external or internal disturbance is happening, so it is crucial to search for and address the underlying cause. Although there are numerous possible reasons a person may have trouble sleeping. So here are 10 Sleep Tips that you can try at home – no prescription needed!
1. Establish a Routine
The human body operates on a daily rhythm aligned with the cycle of day and night. Maintaining a consistent daily routine of eating and sleeping helps the body know what to do and when to do it. Pick the most common times you sleep and eat and stick to that pattern as much as possible. This will balance your hormone levels, helping your body’s internal clock know when it’s time to rest and go to sleep.
2. Moderate Caffeine
Caffeine produces a false high energy, stress state that messes with the body’s natural daily rhythm. Consider eliminating or at least moderating your caffeine intake. Teas are best, especially green tea. If coffee is a must, then try to limit your intake to 1 or 2 cups a day in the morning only.
3. Eat for Balanced Energy
Eating a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats throughout the day is essential for steady energy. Carbohydrates, such as white breads and sugar, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a dramatic dip in energy. These erratic energy highs and lows can be avoided by adding protein and “good” fats to a meal or snack: for example, eat almond butter or a cup of yogurt with your toast, or add a handful of mixed nuts to your fruit snack.
4. Experience the Dark of the Night
Dim lights nearing bedtime and full darkness during sleep time increases the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes deep rest and sleep. This means you must throw away your nightlight , turn off all computer screens, close the window curtains and even cover the alarm clock light or any other light sources in the bedroom.
Deep breathing exercises before bed are very calming. To take a deep breathe let your lungs fully fill with air. Make sure your belly rises as you inhale. Focus on your exhale and let it be twice as long as the inhale. So inhale for a count of 4 and then exhale as you count to 8. Repeat this several times. Notice how you feel afterward.
Check out the quick, “guided meditation” audio Podcasts offered through iTunes to find one that helps you quiet your mind for relaxation and better sleep in as little as 5 to 10 minutes.
7. End the day with Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral found in foods such as nuts, grains, beans, dark green vegetables, fish and meat. A typical supplement dosage is 250-300mg in capsule, powder or liquid form before bed. This can be combined with calcium supplementation so as to maintain the body’s proper calcium-magnesium balance. This may be harmful if you have any sort of kidney disease so consult with your doctor first if that’s the case.
8. Take an Epsom Salt Bath
At the end of your day, a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts dissolved in it can be deeply relaxing. Both the heat and the salts act as natural muscle relaxants and tension relievers. Epsom salts can be bought at most any supermarket or drugstore.
9. Try a Yoga Pose
The “forward bend” yoga poses are sedating. For example, try “Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend” before getting into bed. Be cautious with this pose if you have low back problems. Directions: Stand with your knees slightly bent. Place your hands on the front of your hips for support. Roll your head/then upper body forward and down until you feel the stretch. Release your arms to the floor or clasp your elbows. Pause in this forward hanging position, breath and relax and let the weight of your body stretch out your back. Stay here for as long as is comfortable, perhaps a minute. To come out of the pose, put your hands on your hips and roll up.
10. Ease the Mind
Mental-emotional stresses are often major factors in insomnia. So exploring and healing any psychological stresses that you may have is highly important. Sleep troubles (aka insomnia) may be due to a variety of causes depending on the individual person. These are just a few of my fundamental tips for better sleep, and there are many more natural treatments available. Please don’t hesitate to seek out more personalized healthcare support if you need to further explore and heal the root causes disrupting you from getting the deep and lovely sleep that you deserve!