We’ve all had those times when our beauty sleep eluded us and made us into crazy, ravaging, bed tossing, wide awake and totally unreasonable people with no hope of ever going to sleep that night.
Having one of those nights once in a while is ok, but when they become more and more frequent, it’s time to look at our habits during the day and especially in the hours before bedtime.
But before you reach for that prescription bottle of little white pills we’re going to look at natural ways to help your insomnia.
Reasons for Those Sleepless Nights
There are many causes for not being able to fall asleep promptly and stay asleep for those recommended 8 hours.
First we need to look at habits in the few hours before going to bed which can affect our sleep pattern at night.
- Drinking Alcohol, Coffee, or Smoking a Cigarette Before Bed
Not just are those habits bad during the day, but they’re especially damaging when combined with a bad nights sleep. Alcohol may cause you to feel a little drowsy, but it fragments the stages of your sleep and makes it more disrupted as it wears off. It may worsen snoring and sleep apnea if consumed near your bedtime. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and foods like chocolate work as stimulants to keep you awake for hours. Caffeine should be avoided in the 4 to 6 hours before bed or earlier if you are sensitive to its effects. Likewise, nicotine from a cigarette will ruin your ability to sleep, and the craving associated with withdrawal may wake you during the night.
2. Eating Near Bed Time
Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.
3. Using Your Bedroom as a Stimulating Multipurpose Room
Filling your bedroom with televisions, gaming systems, computers, mobile phones, and other gadgets will ensure a large amount of entertainment will be at hand. Unfortunately, none of these will give you a better night’s sleep. Using them just prior to bed will prompt your brain to be active, and this is the last thing you need to fall asleep. Charge your phone in another room and clear out technology from your sleep sanctuary!
4. Staying Active Until the Moment Before You Hop Into Bed
Sleep is a quiet, relaxing activity, so it doesn’t make much sense to try to transition to that directly from something that is quite the opposite. Our bodies don’t do well with abrupt changes. The same is true for getting ready to sleep. Quiet sleep rituals such as reading, listening to calming music, or taking a nice bath helps prepare us mentally and physically for sleep. Spend the 30 to 60 minutes before your bedtime preparing your body and mind for sleep.
Natural Ways to Fall Asleep- Healing Insomnia
That inability to fall and stay asleep could stem from a short-term issue, or be the result of a lifetime of poor sleep habits. Either way, it can’t be fixed with something like sleeping pills.
Bad habits have to be changed to good habits, little steps, but there are plenty of natural ways to help you relax and get that very important 8 hour sleep per night.
Being physically active is essential for sleeping well. An increasing amount of evidence shows that people who exercise regularly tend to sleep better than their couch potato counterparts—especially when it comes to those with chronic insomnia.
Try to do at least some sort of exercise at least 3 times per week, preferably 5 times. Exercising promotes feelings of relaxation and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also exhaust you and there’s no better feeling than to hop into bed when you’re too tired to stand up!
The most beneficial exercise routine would be the one that’s undertaken outside in the beautiful sunshine. Sunshine or daylight helps your body’s natural clock—which is dictated by the 24-hour cycle of day and night and to know when to feel awake and when to feel tired. Getting enough daylight early in the morning tells your body to stay awake and when the sun goes down your body starts to produce melatonin which is essential for a good night’s sleep.
If these two suggestions don’t work, maybe trying something as simple as a cup of chamomile tea just before bed might do the trick. Chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer and has been used safely for centuries.
Another wonderful herb to use is lavender. The dried flowers can be used in a little fabric sachet next to your pillow or strewn in a relaxing evening bath. If you have an oil burner, the essential oil of lavender is very soothing and burning a few drops before bed could help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. The oil is safe to use from babies to the elderly.
There are many more ways to manage your lack of sleep, but one of my favourites is Bach Flower Remedies Rescue Sleep Spray. Traditionally used to relieve sleeplessness stemming from recurring and worrying thoughts and the relief of anxiety, nervous tension, stress, agitation or despair which provides a sense of calm.
It’s a combination of the Bach Original Rescue Remedy and the Bach Original Flower Essence of white chestnut. Containing the five Bach Flower Remedies of star of Bethlehem, clematis, cherry plum, impatiens and rock rose along with white chestnut. This spray is non habit forming and non sedative.
You simply take 2 sprays under the tongue just before putting your head down on your pillow and then watch yourself drift off to sleep.
Like all new habits, sticking to a sleep routine is a long term commitment, but following some of these suggestions should help you fall asleep, stay asleep and have more energy during the day.