Can’t sleep? Natural ways to relieve insomnia
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I am usually a great sleeper, my head hits the pillow and I am out to it under 2 minutes but there are times when my mind is full and still sorting out what needs to get done.
After a restless night and feeling lack luster I thought about how exhausting and taxing on your health it must be to have insomnia and not get a good night sleep on a regular basis.
There are many reasons for not getting a good nights sleep
• Worry/ stress
• Late shifts
• Exercising too close to bed time
• Unsuitable environment
• Jet lag
So what are some things you can do to relieve insomnia?
• Start by looking around your bedroom, remove computers, televisions and anything else that is used to amuse the mind. Your bedroom and especially your bed should be used for sleeping and sex only. If you do have your computer set up in your bedroom because of lack of space, make sure it is switched off well before bedtime.
• Your bedroom should whisper relaxation, it should be uncluttered, with soft and gentle colours and fabric and dim lighting.
• Avoid doing bookwork, paying bills, watching the news, checking emails, and doing exercise before bedtime.
• Keep a pen and paper on the bedside table if something is bothering you or ideas are popping into your mind, write them down, then forget about them.
• Take a warm bath; add some essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, geranium, or rose. If you don’t have a bath try a hot foot bath.
• A calcium and magnesium supplement can be helpful to relax the body for sleep.
• Get some morning sunlight, this will help your body set a normal wake time – sleep time cycle. It will help reset the body clock, and alter your cortisol and melatonin cycle, helping you become sleepier in the evening.
• Daily regular exercise and a healthy diet will also help to have a better sleep.
• Avoid coffee and soft drinks with caffeine after lunch time; caffeine takes quite a few hours to clear the bloodstream so it is best not to take it in the afternoon or evening.
• While small amounts of alcohol may put you to sleep, alcohol will make for a restless sleep as well as dehydrating the body it can affect the deeper sleep cycles not allowing the body to have quality REM sleep.
Try some herb teas
Before bed, simply pour a cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried herb or two teaspoons of fresh herb, cover and let sit for five minutes before straining and drinking.
There are quite a few herbs you can try, I would suggest you try the milder herbs first.
Chamomile is a really nice gentle herb to start with; taken as a tea it is relaxing, mildly sedative, eases anxiety and indigestion. It can also be added to the bath, put a handful of flowers into a face washer and tie, add to the bath while filling with hot water.
Catnip is another mild sedative, it blends nicely with chamomile for a safe gentle herb tea that can be taken late afternoon through to bedtime. Catnip acts as a gentle nervine for most adults and a mild sedative for children.
If you still can’t sleep try adding the following:
Passion Flower is used as a sedative, it helps promote sleep and balance bio rhythms, it also relieves anxiety, depression and nervousness.
Skullcap is good for insomnia caused by nervous tension or stress, pre-menstrual syndrome and depression.
Valerian is the best-researched sleep inducing herb. Trials show the root extracts hasten sleep onset and improve sleep quality, without side effects. I personally like valerian and will take it during the day if I have a lot on my mind and find I am over thinking everything.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Try this effective technique, it can be done in bed.
Lie down and make yourself comfortable, start with your feet, tense the muscles in your feet while inhaling as you exhale relax your feet completely, then move to your calves tensing the muscles as you inhale and relaxing them when you exhale, move up through your body repeating this action finishing with your shoulders, neck and face.
Make yourself a herb sleep pillow
You can sew together 2 square pieces of material (use muslin, cheesecloth or cotton) leave one side open so you can pop in your dried herbs before sewing closed. Or you can buy pouches with drawstring tops at cheap shops or spotlight and fill with herbs before pulling closed.
Tuck into your pillow, refresh when the fragrance of the herbs fades.
Hops and Lavender make the best fillers for sleep pillows, you can also add rose geranium, chamomile and rose petals. If you want to induce dreams try adding some dried mugwort.