Insomnia is a growing problem in the Western world. Recent polls show approximately 60 million Americans suffer from some sort of insomnia and nearly nine million of those take a prescription sleep aid. Wow. These numbers are far too high and even though there are lots of alternative and natural methods to fight insomnia, more and more people are going to the doctor to get a prescription. The drawback? Most prescription medications have numerous and sometimes deadly side effects. So let’s look at some ways to get the sleep cycle back on track without turning to prescription medications.
One of the great things about technology is you have everything virtually at your fingertips 24 hours a day. But there’s a lot to be said for unplugging from the Internet. Camping has shown to completely reset the sleep cycle of insomniacs. Your body will actually be able to reset itself after a couple of days, thus allowing your circadian rhythms to do their job and get you back into a proper sleeping pattern. Another way to reset your sleep cycle is to stick to a routine. Set a bedtime and stick to it. This way you are actually training your brain to go to sleep. Do the same things nightly before going to bed too, like having a cup of tea or reading for 30 minutes.
Pay attention to lighting. At night, your house and especially your bedroom should be dark, this signals the brain that it needs to start shutting down. That’s why you should not have a television in the bedroom. Also, when you wake up in the morning, be sure to turn on lots of bright lights or open the shades to let in natural light. This signals the brain to wake up and get going. Doing this regularly will help train your brain and balance your circadian rhythm. Get in some daily exercise. Studies show that people who exercise regularly tend to sleep better and also feel less drowsy in the morning. But make sure to do the right types of exercise at the right times. Save intense exercise classes for mornings and do something more relaxing before going to bed, like bedtime yoga.
Stop ingesting caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Coffee and caffeine-laden sodas may wake you up in the morning, but if you drink them with dinner, you’re setting yourself up for a restless night. Just do the best thing you can for your body and give up caffeine altogether. Also, many people think a glass of wine or a beer before bed is a good way to unwind. Wrong. Alcohol may bring on sleep initially, but a few hours after you lay down, it acts as a stimulant, causing you to wake up multiple times throughout the night. It’s best to have your last drink about three to four hours before you plan on going to bed. Nicotine works in the same way, just say no and get some sleep instead. Go easy on the late night meals/snacks. When we eat too much too late at night, we set ourselves up for a restless night. Indigestion from eating too late is common. If you’re still hungry right before going to bed, try something light and healthy, like a tablespoon of peanut butter or a handful of almonds.
Give acupuncture a try. Acupuncture balances hormones and fixes imbalances in the body. Thousands of acupuncture patients have gotten favorable results when it comes to insomnia. And, should you need a sleeping aid, herbal formulas are a much better solution to prescription medications. There are many ways to battle insomnia and balance your sleeping patterns. We have mentioned just a few here. So give them a try, find the ones you resonate most with and stick to it. Life can only get better if you do.
Tea for ZZZZs
Getting enough zzzz’s is vital for your body to renew, recharge and rebalance. When you sleep (a good night’s sleep) your body heals and grows stronger. If you’re not getting enough of it, eventually it can affect your health and wellbeing. Below is a list of herbs known to help you catch more solid zzzz’s.
But keep in mind, always check in with a professional. Herbs are medicinal and you should talk with someone who knows how to properly administer them.
- Valerian Root: Helpful when you’re having a hard time sleeping due to anxiety or stress.
- Poppy Plant: Acts as a mild sedative to help encourage a deep sleep when you’re feeling restless and achy.
- Chamomile: Contains antioxidants that help promote sleepiness and alleviate insomnia.
- Lavender Buds: Can improve your sleep quality and relax you too.