Getting to sleep is like solving a personal puzzle, with a different component of a good night’s rest being a piece of that puzzle. It’s different for each of us, and unlocking your unique code is crucial if you want to function at your best and view life with a cheery disposition. Sleeping well is our natural way of life, so having sleeping problems is a sign that something isn’t right. Here is a list of all-natural sleeping remedies, tips, and some natural sleep aids that could be the key.
Try Melatonin, Valerian Root, or Kava
A lot of studies have been done on supplementing melatonin as a way to naturally induce your body into falling asleep. While some swear by it, others say it didn’t help with their sleeplessness at all. Some studies have called it safe, but also said it was ineffective, and other studies say it’s effective but has its share of side effects if taken in large doses or for a long duration.
Valerian root is used for people suffering from insomnia, and studies have shown that it can work both for helping you get to sleep, and also keeping you asleep through the night. The best part about it is that it’s not supposed to leave you feeling groggy the next day. It also has the least amount of side effects between melatonin and kava.
Kava has more recently come to light as a possible sleep enhancer, but preliminary findings suggest that there may be too many side effects at play, and there are too many additional effects it has on the body for it to be used as a reliable sleep aid.
Optimize Your Environment for Sleep
Having the right environment for sleep is important, and often determines how fast you’ll be able to fall asleep, and how many times you’ll awake during the night. For example, many times there will be a TV in the bedroom for watching TV in bed, falling asleep to the news or late night talk shows. We discuss more about why this might not be the best set-up below.
You also should take into consideration what sort of mattress you’re sleeping on, what sort of pillow you’re resting your head on, how dark it is, and whether there are any noises bothering you. You can also experiment with different bedtime rituals. Some people do well with a shower or bath before bed, while others associate this with waking up and it only exacerbates the problem.
Make your bedroom a sacred place for sleeping. Don’t do any work in bed, or watch movies in bed, because this conditions you to stay awake while in bed. Making your bed in the morning can help establish your bed as the place for slumber, and can make it even more inviting when it’s time to turn in for the night.
Wear Yourself Out During the Day
Sometimes it’s harder to get to sleep if you haven’t had much activity throughout the day. One way to make sure you expend this excess energy is to take a one hour walk each day. You don’t even have to walk briskly, just take a stroll for an hour. You can choose the same route each day, or explore your neighborhood by walking 30 minutes in any direction and then returning home.
You might feel like your daily routine provides enough energy expenditure, what with all of the running around, the job, the kids, the spouse, and all of the other fun things, but if you’re the type that has energy to spare you’ll need to find time to fit a daily workout in, or at least 30 minutes of some sort of aerobic or strength training activity. You also get the added bonus of less stress and better overall health.
Get It Out Of Your Head
If you’re physically exhausted but still can’t turn your mind off, there must be something on it that you don’t want to forget. Sometimes it helps to get up, write it down on paper, and then try to get back to sleep, confident that you’ll attend to it in the morning. If it’s a lot of little things, make a list. Of course this can also backfire, and you might start thinking of other things to write down, so try it once and see if it has a calming effect on your mind.
Telling yourself “I can’t get to sleep!” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and jumping from subject to subject but looping again to the same thoughts is a sign that you might be better off staying up a little longer until your mind can relax. Perhaps you are forgetting something and this is your mind’s way of making sure it gets attended to before letting you go to sleep.
Get Ready for Sleep An Hour Beforehand
Don’t over-stimulate your senses right before you go to bed. A nightly habit for many is watching television or a movie, or surfing the web. When you try to go to sleep right after that the images are still flashing in your mind, making it harder to calm down and get to sleep.
Also, don’t eat too late in the evening, and avoid caffeinated drinks and chocolate at dinner time. Eating late meal means the food will still be on your stomach when you’re trying to get comfortable and fall asleep. Try eating dinner before 7pm and avoid snacking before bed.
An hour before you’re ready to sleep try reading a book, listening to soft and pleasing music, taking a bath, lighting some scented chamomile or lavender candles, meditating, enjoying time with your pet, and anything else that makes you feel good, without having a bunch of moving, flashing images. Be sure to do all of these activities out of your bed, and use your bed when you’re ready to sleep.
The Perfect Pillow Can Lead to a Good Night’s Sleep
Your pillow has a lot to do with your comfort level and how well you sleep during the night. If you have a case of snoring there are specially designed pillows for that. Some people find that they sleep best with multiple pillows, using one for their head, and using another to prop up their torso, or separate their knees to relieve pressure on their back.
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