Having trouble falling asleep? Maybe you’re getting sleep but lacking the quality aspect. You may have a disorder or other issues you’re unaware of. Disorders can range from being behavior-based, having irregular circadian rhythms, experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia or it could be another issue such as ADHD, depression, asthma or others that’s affecting your sleep (1). If you feel you may have any of the above; schedule an appointment with your physician.
Here, I like to exhaust all of the natural and noninvasive approaches before taking numerous man-made medications. It’s amazing how so many medications promoted leave you with more problems than you had to begin with. On that note, let’s begin looking at several ways to help you sleep better, leaving refreshed and recharged upon waking.
Essentials oils have been used for ages and are used today in aromatherapy which is the utilization of naturally extracted oils for therapeutic or medicinal purposes (2). Research has shown that the use of essential oils such as lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli are effective in attaining better quality sleep when combined (3). Also, there are other oils such as sweet marjoram, orange blossom, valerian, and rose that was found to aid in putting the body into a sedative parasympathetic state (4). Essential oils are administered in various ways; using aroma stones, oil diffusers, sprays, baths, teas or simply rubbing on the skin which you should be cautious of if you any allergies or have sensitive skin (5). Overall the use of essential oils is non-invasive, affordable, and easily applied (6).
As mentioned above, oils derived from herbs are used in teas to drink before bed as a sleep aid. An idea for you d.i.y. types out there is steeping loose tea in a tea maker or in boiling water to extract the nutrients yourself. There is nothing more satisfying than making something from scratch, getting those nutrients soon as possible, then enjoying the fruits of your labor. So if you would like to take that avenue you can always grow your herbs to make tea. A great place to buy herbs from is seedsnow.com who sells raw, untreated, non-gmo, heirlooms seeds. I love these guys; they have great quality for a reasonable price with a bit of personal touch as if they’re a local family store you have been going to your entire life. Now, for those who prefer to just buy caffeine-free tea bags, there are plenty of options to choose from the likes of Yogi, Celestial Seasonings, Traditional Medicinals, Choice Organic Teas, Organic India Tulsi Tea, or The Republic of Tea. Its tea time, grab a cup, and drink up.
Take a warm bath or shower
According to sleep studies conducted, it was found that following a warm bath or shower your body temperature drops with a rapid cool-down period putting you into a more relaxed state for better sleep (7,8). Now, if you decide to take a bath, consider taking an epsom salt bath with sleep-inducing essential oils included. Why stop there? You might as well pamper yourself, light some scented candles, and play soft music, clearing your mind of the days’ stress. One more thing, be sure not to have the water scorching hot, that will rob the moisture of your skin. The goal is sleep, not to be in pain from burning yourself.
Get moving if you want better sleep. Studies show that exercise improves the quality of sleep for people of various ages and with different conditions such as insomnia, depression, and sleep apnea (9,10, 11). I found that I slept great after evening weight lifting sessions followed by a meal and soothing warm shower. For some people, an evening or late at night workout awakens them, therefore experiment to find what works best for you. The main goal here is to establish a regular exercise regimen. If you need help with the exercise portion, consider hiring a personal trainer to create a safe exercise regimen for you to do on your own or to train you regularly; of course, a nice place to look first would be here at bernardparkerjr.com.
Set your bedroom up for sleep
The bedroom environment should be catered for sleep, meaning that you want an environment that promotes comfort, relaxation, a sense of peace, putting you at ease after a long day of work or fun. Let’s start with the lighting, get rid of any light a ½ hour to an hour before bed, it’s time let your body know it’s time to shift into sleep mode, so turn off that television, put away that laptop or phone, and invest in some blackout curtains or make your own to block out any light. Next, pick cool colors for your room such as blues, greens, or lavenders, they are believed to have a calming effect (12). Speaking of cool colors, let’s talk about the temperature for your bedroom, it suggested that you keep your room between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep (13). I know some of you won’t feel like getting up to adjust the thermostat, consider getting a smart/Wi-Fit thermostat that you can program and/or control by phone, laptop, or remote to keep it nice and cool.
Now it’s time to discuss mattresses, sheets, and pillows, you want to feel comfortable when you get into bed. This area will be subjective; we all have our preferences of what we find comfortable, so I’ll toss out some ideas and you decide what’s best for you. When buying a mattress, buy from a company that customizes the mattress, possibly let you have a test trial, eco-friendly, and/or are made out of non-toxic material such as Essentia, Loom & Leaf, or Saatva. Pillows, I personally like my bamboo and Serta pillows, they feel amazing, and having two different pillows, it gives me options to choose from if I decide to sit up to read, have an injury and choose to prop up the injured body part, or of course just go to sleep since they both feel different. Finally, you need some sheets, purchase sheets based on the quality of the material it’s made out of, do the same for your pillows cases as well. I say stick with cooling feeling fabrics, you don’t want anything that will overheat your body as you sleep waking up sweating in the middle of the night. Think about it, these materials will be on your skin, and near your mouth and nose, so non-toxic and natural is the best way to go here.
Consider taking calcium and magnesium supplements, lacking these minerals has been shown to wake people a few hours after falling asleep, then leaving then struggling to get back to sleep (14). Remember these are supplements, meaning they should supplement your diet, not be your main source for attaining these minerals. A rule of thumb, always start small and work your way up in dosage, also consider speaking to a physician that has a solid background in medical nutrition to help guide you when feeling unsure or as a step for precaution. All in all, aim to get your magnesium and calcium from eating dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and some dark chocolate for starters.
There is nothing like talking to the Lord. You feel stressed and bogged down by the circumstances in your life, just struggling to clear your mind before bed, stop everything and pray. Try to block out any noise and just speak what’s on your heart to The Creator, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or long, just start and when you finish, let go and let God. Don’t know what to say, just start talking like would to your best friend. Just keep that relationship with Creator.
There you have it folks, natural ways to get to sleep without taking a bunch of pills that may lead to other unwanted side effects. Getting sound sleep is vital for your health, not getting enough can lead to a host of problems. I pray that this article has enlightened you and inspired you to take back your health.
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You