How are you sleeping? Are you often restless in the night and have difficulty getting a good seven or eight hours of restful sleep leaving you tired and irritable the following day? According to the Sleep Foundation in Australia, 1 in 3 people have at least mild insomnia and ‘33 to 45 per cent of adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights, leaving them to face the new day with fatigue, irritability and other side effects of sleep deprivation’.
There are many reasons why you may be suffering from insomnia. These range from going to bed hungry, to excessive caffeine intake, changes in routine, stress and anxiety, the effects of aging and frequent visits to the bathroom during the night. If any of these sound familiar, we’ve put together a few tips to help you get the restorative sleep your body needs to function and stay healthy.
The nutrient tryptophan, the hormones serotonin and melatonin are the key elements that help promote sleep. Raw honey contains tryptophan and because eating raw honey only raises blood sugar level slightly, this controlled rise of insulin causes tryptophan to enter the brain and there it gets converted into serotonin. You need to be in the dark for serotonin to be converted into melatonin.
Banana contains melatonin, tryptophan, magnesium and serotonin, so they are great for getting a high amount of carbohydrate to make you sleepy. Simply eat a banana before going to bed or try a banana smoothie an hour before your bedtime and add a drop of raw honey for good measure.
Eugenol is a natural oily substance that is found in lemon balm and other plants like basil, cinnamon and clove oil and it acts as a numbing agent and so aids relaxation and sleep. Mix two to three teaspoons of lemon balm to a cup of boiling water to make a herbal tea. Steep it for a few minutes and sip it before bedtime.
I was surprised to learn that lettuce contains a sleep inducing property called lectucarium. Take two lettuce leaves and boil them in two cups of water for 5 minutes. Wait until it cools down a bit, and then strain it and add raw honey. Drink a cup of lettuce tea at least half an hour before you go to bed and it may help you to sleep like a baby.
Lavender is believed to slow down your nervous system so a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow aids a good night’s sleep. Or take a hot bath a couple of hours before going to sleep and it will help to relax the body. Jasmine and rosemary are also thought to be effective.
Breathing exercises and meditation along with yoga can help to relax the body and mind.
Sleep hygiene is a series of practices and habits which help you to have a good night's sleep and be alert and wakeful during the day. It's about preparing your mind and body for bedtime and creating the optimum, comfortable environment in your bedroom.
These are all recommended natural remedies to combat mild insomnia. If you suffer from insomnia over a prolonged period of time seek advice from a clinical or medical professional.
Let us know what works for you.
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