Insomnia - How To Get A Good Night's Sleep Naturally
We all need sleep to survive. Doctors recommend that we get at least eight hours of sleep each night. The truth is we all have occasional nights where sleep eludes us.
Insomnia is defined as poor quality or unsatisfying sleep. It indicates all types of sleep loss. It can be short term and last for a few nights, or it can become a chronic condition that persists for months or even years. This includes not being able to fall asleep, waking up too early in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep again, waking up often during the night, as well as sleeping but waking up feeling unrefreshed.
There are a number of different reasons why people don't sleep well. If you can't find a valid reason for your sleep problems, such as chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, your bedroom is too hot or too cold, excessive noise in your environment or partner disturbances, then your sleeping disorder is most likely stress related. Research has identified stress as being the major cause of most sleep disorders. Sometimes we just get into a bad habit of poor sleep.
When we don't get enough sleep we can experience drowsiness, irritability, depression trouble concentrating or low energy. With that said, our sleep problem is unique. It is also important to remember that we are creatures of habit. But in the end, in order to ensure a good nights rest, it is vital to identify why you aren't sleeping so that lifestyle changes can be made and new habits formed.
Recommendations For Good Sleep
Perhaps you don't need 8 hours of sleep each night. Some people get along just fine with only 4-5 hours of sleep and show no ill effects. If this is you, relax " you are just fine. Take advantage of the extra time.
Don't lie in bed worrying about sleeping. Instead, get up and move around. Read a book, meditate or do some yoga. Most importantly, stay up until you feel sleepy again.
Write down your worries and concerns or make a list of tasks you need to accomplish the next day before going to bed.
Go to bed the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. This will help promote good sleep habits and reinforce your biological sleep clock.
Ensure that your bedroom temperature is to your preference, your mattress is comfortable and your pillow provides you with the proper amount of support. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible and wear pajamas that are loose fitting.
Before you go to bed, take a hot bath. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt and some essential oils such as clary sage or lavender oil. Turn down the lights and light a candle. Listen to some soothing music and allow your body to relax.
Try to get some physical activity every day. Studies show that the more active you are during the day the more you will be able to relax at night.
Reduce the amount of sugars, fats and preservatives you consume. Instead, eat a well balanced diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and many carbonated beverages, especially after 3pm each day.
Calcium and magnesium have a calming and relaxing effect on the body and muscles.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps our bodies regulate our sleep cycles and promotes sound sleep.
Chamomile, hops, passionflower, lemon balm and skullcap have historically been used as sleep aids.
One of the best herbs for insomnia is valerian root, especially when used on a regular basis. Taken for about a month, valerian root has been shown to promote deep relaxation and sleep.
Nature's Sunshine's Herbal Sleep is an herbal combination that provides natural sedative and calming effects on the body. It does not produce a "drugged-like" feeling that is often associated with pharmaceutical sedatives.
Copyright Body, Mind & SoulHealer 2006. All rights reserved.
Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Rita Louise, Ph.D. is the author of the books "Avoiding the Cosmic 2x4" and "The Power Within". Medical Intuition & Energy Medicine Certification training classes are now forming. Visit http://www.soulhealer.com or call (972) 475-3393 for more information.