How many of us struggle to sleep at nights? Or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep? Millions of people around the world struggle with insomnia. The National Institute of Health estimates that roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep disruption. In a 2005 National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll, more than half of people reported at least one symptom (difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot during the night, waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep, or waking up feeling un-refreshed) at least a few nights per week. I too sometimes have difficulty sleeping and so I will discuss some of the remedies that have worked for me.
According to sleepfoundation.org, exercise triggers an increase in body temperature and the post exercise drop in temperature may promote falling asleep. It may also reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, anxiety and depressive symptoms. In addition, Hopkinsmedicince.org states that, aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get. Slow wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and the body have a chance to rejuvenate. Some people find that exercising close to bed time may keep them up so experts say you should exercise 1 to 2 hours before bed in this case.
According to thesleepdoctor.com, lavender works as an anxiolytic (anxiety reliever) and as a sedative, to increase relaxation and calm, and help bring about sleep. It interacts with neurotransmitters to help quiet the brain and nervous system activity, reducing agitation, anger, aggression and restlessness. Experts say you should put a few drops of Lavender essential oil on your pillow to fall asleep. I normally put it on my pillow and after a few minutes of inhaling it I start feeling drowsy and end up falling asleep. Be sure to not put the oil on your skin because it may irritate it.
Epsom Salt bath with Lavender oil
Epsom salts is also known as magnesium sulfate. It is a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. Adequate magnesium levels are essential for sleep and stress management, because it helps your brain produce neurotransmitters that induce sleep and reduce stress. Magnesium also helps your body produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Epsom salt also has other benefits like helping with pain and sore muscles, reducing inflammation among others. It is sold in pharmacies. Add 1-2 cups of the Epsom salt with lavender oil to your warm bath tub and soak your body for 30 minutes. Be sure to moisturize after as it can dry out your skin. I have done this before and have fallen asleep in the bath tub. Lol
Melatonin Sleep Aid Supplements
These you can find in your local pharmacies and they are available in pill form, gummies and liquid. The body naturally produces the hormone melatonin. Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It is thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep. According to an expert on Hopkinsmedicine.org, you should take your melatonin supplement 1 to 2 hours before bed. I take this in gummy form occasionally and it helps me fall asleep sometimes.
Deep breathing exercise
When you are ready for bed, lay on your back and take long deep breaths. When you inhale, hold your breath for a little before exhaling. Clear your mind of any thoughts and just focus on your breathing. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate. According to Breus (aka the Sleep Doctor), your heart rate, on average, should be about 60 beats per minute or less in order to enter into a state of unconsciousness.
Most people’s heart rate is closer to 75 or 80, he says.”When you do deep, diaphragmatic breathing, it lowers your heart rate very quickly and lowers the anxiety that’s associated with the higher heart rate,” Breus notes. “That’s really where the magic happens.” However, he cautions that, before trying any deep-breathing exercises, screen yourself to make sure you don’t have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or any type of restrictive lung disease. And talk to your doctor first if you’re a smoker.
Let me know if you have ever tried any of these remedies, or if you have tried something that I didn’t mention be sure to tell me in the comments. Xoxo