Natural Ways to Aid Sleeping
Here we go again. You have an important meeting to go to in the morning. You have to get up early so you can make final preparations. You go to up to your bedroom so you can a good night's sleep. That way you will feel refreshed. Then the inevitable happens. You lie in your bed and close your eyes. However, you do not fall asleep. You keep looking at the clock and keep trying to fall asleep. However, nothing seems to work. What an inconvenient time for you to suffer from insomnia. What are you going to do?
Many Americans suffer from one sort of sleeping difficulty or another. They may range from not being able to fall asleep, to waking up and not being able to fall back asleep and to having difficulty waking up in the morning. One out of every five Americans takes sleeping pills. Countless prescriptions for sleeping medications are filled at the pharmacies each year. If you suffer from insomnia, before running to your local pharmacy, think about some natural ways that will help you fall asleep. They are safer than the chemically produced medications and are more effective.
Calming and Relaxing Herbs
Valerian is very effective in calming your body by reducing restlessness and nervousness. It can be found in most health food stores as a herb, supplement or tea. This herb has been used since the Ancient times to treat insomnia and other health disorders. Drinking a cup of valerian tea or taking up to three supplements helps induce sleep.
Peppermint and Spearmint both contain calming and relaxing properties. These and other plants from the mint family-such as lemon balm-help induce sleep. Since Valerian has a bitter taste, adding mint to tea helps enhance the flavor of Valerian tea.
The above ground parts of the passion flower, such as the stem, leaves and petals, are used treat many health ailments. Since the chemicals in the plant contain calming properties, the main uses of passion flower are for conditions that require relaxation. It is very beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety, stress and insomnia.
You can find passion flower products at most health food stores. They usually come as:
- Liquid extracts
It can also be purchased online at sites such as Amazon and EBay.
Chamomile is readily available at many stores as a tea. This herb contains soothing properties and is excellent in treating conditions of the digestive system that normally interfere with sleep. While you can purchase it at the store, you can easily grow this plant in your back yard and brew your own teas. To do this, fill a tea ball with either fresh or dried chamomile leaves in a tea ball. Place the ball in a cup of hot water and allow it to brew for at least five minutes. Add a teaspoon of honey if needed for sweetness. You can also find this plant easily in the wild. However, seek the advice of a qualified herbalist since many poisonous plants can be confused for chamomile.
Lavender is also very popular as a sleep-inducing tea. However, you do not have to drink tea to get the sleep benefits of this plant. Inhaling the fragrance is enough to get you into dreamland. All you need to do is wrap some of the petals of this plant in a wash cloth and place it on top of your pillow or put 3-4 drops of essential oil on your pillow.
If your insomnia is due to stress, drinking a cup of lemon balm tea will do wonders in calming you down by reducing nervous tension.
Oregon grape rood is a very effective sleep-inducer. You can purchase this at many health food stores as a root or in ground and powder forms. It contains calming and relaxing properties which will help relax your body and help you fall asleep. This herb contains many other healing properties and can help with underlying issues that make it difficult for you to fall asleep such as anxiety, stress, depression and pain. If you decide to brew a cup of tea using the root, you will need to let it steep for 10-15 minutes to get all the benefits. Since this root has a bitter taste, you may need to sweeten it with a teaspoon of honey.
Periwinkle, which is commonly used a a border plant in many gardens, has dark green leaves that are shiny and blue flowers. As a medicinal plant, the part of this plant that are used, are the leaves. These can easily be dried and kept in an airtight container for up to a year. Crush up a tablespoon full of these leaves and place them in a tea ball. Put the ball in a cup of hot water and allow it to brew for 5 to 10 minutes. Since periwinkle contains tranquilizing properties, drink this tea a half hour before you go to bed.
Since some herbs may interact with medications and supplements that you may already be taking, talk to your doctor before using herbs to treat your insomnia.
Other Ways to Combat Insomnia
A drop in body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep. “How do I go about doing this?” you may ask. The best way to do this is to drink that cup of non-caffeinated tea or taking a warm shower or a bath. While you are doing this, your body temperature will rise. However, after you finish that cup of tea or that shower or bath, you body temperature will decrease. This will be very noticeable if you have the air-conditioner running in your bedroom. Walking out of a warm bathroom into a cold room will have you scrambling to get into your pajamas and under the covers. During the night your body cools down while you sleep. Keep the air conditioner running to keep your bedroom cool. While you might not have this running during the winter months, having a small fan running helps keep the stuffiness out of the room.
Prayer and meditation and other quiet activities can help relax your body and make it easier to fall asleep. Combine this with essential oils such as lavender, jasmine and bergamot. Putting a few drops of each in an oil burner makes an excellent sedative blend by helping reduce your stress. If you do not want to use an oil burner, you can fill a bowl with water and put the drops of essential oil in that or use an eye mask and place a few drops of the oil blend on the lower end and inhale the sweet aroma.
Making simple changes to your bedroom does a wonder in helping you fall asleep. The first thing you have to consider is what you do when you crawl under the covers? Do you watch television? Do you read a book? Do you play games on your phone or tablet? When you do this, you are confusing your body making it think that the bed is for many activities other than sleeping. If you like to read a chapter or two in your book before you close your eyes, do this in another part of your bedroom. For example, if this room is big enough to hold a cozy chair, sit and read in the chair. Or place some pillows or cushions on the floor for this and other activities.
Is your bedroom dark enough? If you are the type of person who likes to have the light on when you go to bed, you are confusing the body into thinking that it is daytime, the time when the body is to be awake. If you work the night shift, you may find it hard to fall asleep during the day. It is a good idea to have heavy curtains in the bedroom to filter out the daylight. These curtains also may be heavy enough to filter out traffic sounds. However, if they still bother you, wearing ear plugs when you go to bed should do the trick.
One thing to do is to check out your mattress and pillows. Are they firm or are they lumpy? You may be surprised that if your bed and pillows are not comfortable, you will have an uncomfortable sleep. Replace them if these are the culprit of your insomnia.
You body becomes confused if you go to bed and wake up at different times during the day. Therefore, it is important that you set a bedtime routine. Set a time that you go to bed each day and a time to wake up. If you work, you probably already have a set wake-up time during the work week. However, even if you are tempted to stay up later and sleep in on your days off, it is best to stick with your schedule. If you insist on staying up later and sleeping in only do this by no more than a two hour difference from your work week.
The quickest and most natural means of getting the mind and body to rest are to exercise and tire out the body. This does not mean exercising once in a while. You must exercise at least four days a week. While you might not have the time or convenience to join a gym, you can exercise right in your home. Doing things like walking instead of driving the car, walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator and doing basic exercises-such as crunches and squats-will help prepare you for a restful sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, keep a journal. You can write down things that work in falling asleep. You can also write about nights when all you seem to do is toss and turn. Doing this might jog your memory of what is causing you to stay awake. For example, you may have been playing a fast-paced game on the computer. This over stimulation most likely caused your insomnia. From what you discover about yourself, you can eliminate what is causing you to have problems in falling asleep.
If, after the above tips do not work, talk with your doctor for further advice.
Epsom Salt Baths For Insomnia
Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, is something you need to keep either in your kitchen or bathroom. As its scientific name says, this mineral is a major source of magnesium. If you feel that you are constantly tired and your joints and muscles are constantly aching, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Along with the above symptoms, lower levels of this mineral can bring about a number of health ailments such as arthritis, osteoporosis, fatigue, depression, mood swings high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Since your body easily absorbs Epsom salts, you can boost the levels of this mineral in your body.
One of the most effective ways to raise the level of magnesium in your body by using Epsom salts is take a bath. Fill your bathtub with hot water-as hot as you call handle. The add three to four cups of Epson salts to the water. Allow the salts to dissolve and sit in the tub for a relaxing bath. These salts also have calming and relaxing properties. If you suffer from insomnia or are under stress, this is an effective home remedy just before you go to bed. For additional relief, add three drops of essential oil to your bath. For painful joints and arthritis, use oils such as:
The above oils are also effective for stress, anxiety and depression. However, you can also use:
- Mandarin Orange
- Ylang Ylang
Sit and relax in your bath for 20-30 minutes. This will give plenty of time for the magnesium to be absorbed through your skin. However, since hot baths such as this can dehydrate you, keep a bottle of water nearby. For a special touch, while you are bathing listen to meditative music and light some scented candles or incense.
Doing an Epson salt bath just before you go to bed helps you relax. It will give you a restful sleep and in the morning you will feel restored.
Magnesium is a mineral that helps balance out other minerals in your body such as calcium and potassium. These both are needed for a healthy heart as well as strong bones. Without these minerals you have a greater chance of getting bone loss when you get older. Taking Epson salt baths helps minimize these risks.
If you are already taking blood pressure medication, talk to your doctor before using Epson salts. It may cause your pressure to drop too low.
While Epson salts are excellent if you have excessively oily skin and plays a role in removing dead skin cells, they can still dry out your skin. Apply lotion to you skin after taking a bath.
If you are already taking magnesium supplements, taking Epson salt baths may cause you to have too much magnesium in your body. Rather than taking a bath, it is a better idea to use a food bath for ten minutes at a time. If you still want to take a relaxing bath, limit it to once a week.
If you are pregnant or are nursing, talk to your doctor before using Epson salts in your bath.
If you decide to use essential oils with your bath, test a small area of your skin first. Some essential oils can cause irritation especially if you have sensitive skin. During your bath, avoid getting these oils in your eyes, nose and mouth. Keep these oils away from your children and pets by storing them in a dark spot away from heat.
© 2017 Lois Ryan