With hectic lifestyles, sleep can be illusive for some people. Our minds tend to race, we consume caffeine and other stimulants to get going and stay going throughout the day. Sometimes these habits can take a toll on our sleep. Many people find it difficult to turn their minds off and get some rest. There are natural remedies for this common problem. I’d like to share the best remedies for insomnia that I have discovered.
1. Change Your Diet
The first step to conquering your sleep deprivation is to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrition. Many people are consuming far too many carbohydrates and caffeine to allow them restful sleep. Carbohydrate will interfere with sleep patterns by spiking your insulin levels. If you do consume carbohydrates, consider cutting them out a few hours prior to your sleep. Adopting the ketogenic diet is an ideal way to do this. You can check out more information on the ketogenic diet and menu items here.
For a long-lasting cure to insomnia, many people will do well to incorporate health fats into their diet. These help you fall asleep soon after your head hits the pillow. Examples of healthy fats that you can include in your diet to help you sleep better include:
- grass fed butter
- olive oil
- animal fats from chicken, beef, etc.
Insomnia can be triggered by low levels of magnesium or potassium in the diet. These two nutrients together in the body. If you are deficient in one, your body won’t be able to use the other. Magnesium and potassium both play a role in helping the body relax so that you can fall asleep at night.
2. Reduce Stress
One of the biggest reasons that people can’t sleep at night is because they have too much stress in their lives. They are thinking about too many things at once! They may not be able to let go of worrying about their work project or their dog or kids.
Television tends to mess up your circadian rhythms. It can also increase stress when you watch news programs or shows that contain violence. These types of programs tend to excite your mind. The blue light from the television screen, or iPad, or computer screen tells you pineal gland that it needs to keep running. It messes with your circadian rhythms and cortisol levels, which in turn keeps you from falling asleep.
It is recommended that thirty minutes prior to falling asleep, you turn off all of your screens and start doing something relaxing. Some people take a warm bath, others read, journaling your day can also be very therapeutic and help you put your thoughts about the day down on paper and out of your head. Sometimes scheduling what you will do the next day can reduce the stress and worry about how you will accomplish it.
3. Hypnosis and Meditation
Hypnosis or meditation may be the answer that you have been searching for in terms of helping you relax to the point where you will fall asleep. Hypnosis is excellent at allowing the body to let go of the anxiety that not falling asleep creates. It can help to increase the amount of time that you spend in slow-wave, or deep sleep, by about eighty percent. Slow wave sleep patterns are great at improving your memory and healing so that you wake up refreshed and feeling restored.
Self-hypnosis is a skill that happens by listening to verbal cues, which can either be from a hypnotherapist or an audio that you play at your home. The verbal cues and meditative music tend to put you in a trance like state that is similar to being so engrossed in a good book that you tune out your surroundings. Sessions that are geared towards helping you sleep more deeply will likely involve a soft, soothing voice using words such as “relax,” “deep,” and “let go.” After the session, or even while listening, you may drift off to sleep. Although many people describe being hypnotized as feeling extremely relaxed, the brain is actually very focused and in deep concentration.
Some people are more suggestible than others and hypnotherapy tends to work better for them. This simply means that they can be more easily drawn into a hypnotized state. Don’t get discouraged if self-hypnosis isn’t working for you. About 25% of people simply can’t be hypnotized.
I know, it may seem like my answer to almost every problem is to get moving. However, exercise does some great things when it comes to insomnia. It significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia. Studies have shown that some moderate intensity aerobic exercise reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise. After 4 to 24 weeks of consistent, moderate exercise, adults who suffered from insomnia fell asleep more quickly, slept a little longer and had better sleep quality than prior to starting an exercise regimen.
The exact mechanisms of how exercise improves your sleep quality are unknown. One idea is that the thermal effect of eercise triggers a response in the body. Since exercise triggers a body temperature increase, post exercise the body temperature has to drop. This fluction may promote the ability to fall asleep. Additionally, exercise may reduce insomnia by decreasing anxiety, depression and arousal. These symptoms are often linked with insomnia. Exercise may also reduce insomnia by improving the circadian rhythms. Exercise may shift the time clocks of people with insomnia depending on when the exercise is performed.
5. Essential Oils Can Help You Fall Asleep
Essential oils can aid the falling asleep process. One of the reasons that essential oils assist falling asleep is that they calm the nervous system. Chamomile, which can be used in a diffuser or in tea, is one of the best medicinal herbs for eliminating stress and promoting relaxation. The chamomile vapors are recommended as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression.
Lavender oil is an essential oil that you can diffuse by your bed at night. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can rub a few drops on your neck prior to going to bed. Lavender oil has certain compounds which can relax your body. Taking a bath with lavender oil and Epsom salts can help you to fall asleep because the salts have magnesium and can help as well. If you are planning on using a bath with lavender oil, ideally you will want to start the bath about an hour before you plan on going to sleep. Use about twenty drops of lavender oil and rub it all over your body. Then get into the warm bath with Epsom salts. Relax for about twenty to thirty minutes. After the bath, read for about thirty minutes in bed. This should help you to fall asleep faster.