Getting the Restful Sleep You Deserve
Everyone is looking for new ways to get restful sleep. We mean it! A new study says that 27% of Americans would even give up social media if it meant consistently getting eight hours of sleep! By studying 1,004 U.S adults, the app Sleep Cycle, found that 21% of participants would reach for an herbal blend of tea, 28% would use a white noise machine, 26% would take a hot bath, and 21% would read a relaxing book in bed. If you’re part of a large majority of people who just can’t seem to get the sleep you deserve, we’ve got some good news! There are some natural things you can do to get to sleep in no time!
A hard time getting to sleep or insomnia?
If you have a hard time falling or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. Nearly 50% of older adults have insomnia, with difficulty in getting to sleep, early awakening, or feeling unrefreshed on waking. Insomnia has been shown to impair cognitive and physical functioning and is associated with a wide range of impaired daytime functions across a number of emotional, social, and physical domains. Compared with “good sleepers”, people with persistent sleep disturbances are more prone to accidents, have higher rates of work absenteeism, diminished job performance, decreased quality of life, and increased healthcare utilization.
Natural Sleep Remedies
One of the best practices that help to fall asleep is exercising. Another good tip is to finish dinner at least 2 hours prior to “hitting the hay” and develop a sleep routine. Follow this checklist to help turn your nights into dreams:
- Turn off cell phones, computers and the television at least an hour before bed
- Go to bed at a regular time each night. The best time is at least 1-2 hours prior to midnight.
- Engage in gentle activities such as: calm conversation, listening to soothing music or meditation tracks, light stretching, having a bath, drinking herbal teas, reading a novel, cuddling or other intimate contact, or petting an animal.
Supplementation can be an extremely helpful tool for anyone who is not getting a full, restful night’s sleep on a regular basis.
Magnesium is a mineral essential to over 400 functions in the body. Supplementation of magnesium improved subjective measures of insomnia such sleep efficiency, sleep time, early morning awakening in one study on elderly people. It also reduced stress signaling, such as lowering cortisol and increased melatonin levels in the same population. If L-Theanine relaxes the mind, Magnesium relaxes the body.†
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s circadian rhythms, your body’s 24-hour clock that regulate your sleep-wake cycle. As a supplement, it re-calibrates your 24-hour body clock for shift workers or those who work nights. Excellent for jet lag and traveling. In a systematic review of sleep aids used for children and adolescents with ADHD, melatonin showed a positive response, higher total sleep time, and easier time falling asleep at bedtime as well as after waking in the middle of the night.†
Valerian root has been used as a sedative and anti- anxiety treatment for more than 2,000 years. Extracts of the roots of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are widely used for inducing sleep and improving sleep quality. A review of 16 small studies suggests that valerian may help people fall asleep faster with only minor side effects and no hangover.†
California poppy is one of the only safe and available sources of opiates. This herb works as a painkiller and helps to induce sleep. Unlike its drug-based opioid cousins, California poppy is not habit forming and easy on the liver. Developing research suggests California poppy, in combination with magnesium, might be useful in treating mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders.†
L-Theanine, an extract from green tea, is excellent for persistent thoughts. Day or night, take for anxiety, panic and to calm down worrisome thoughts by increasing blissful alpha-waves in the brain, before bed or in the middle of the night. L-Theanine when compared with the drug Zolpidem increased speed of falling asleep children with ADHD using Zolpidem experienced zero sleep benefits and many side effects.†
Chamomile can be taken astea, in an herbal tincture or a sleep formula. One Japanese study on rats found that chamomile extract helped the rats fall asleep just as quickly as rats that got a dose of benzodiazepine (a tranquilizing medication), though experts do agree that better research of chamomile is needed.†