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12 Natural Ways To Deal With Sleep Disorders (Counting Sheep Isn’t One Of Them!)
Although everyone has trouble every now and again falling asleep, habitually having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep means you might have a serious sleep disorder.
Some of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, bed wetting, nocturnal bruxism, sleep apnea, night terrors, or narcolepsy.
Regular sleep is essential for your overall good health as well as your mental and emotional health. A lack of sleep that occurs for even just two or three nights each week can wreak havoc on your body and mind.
If you often have trouble staying asleep or falling asleep, we have compiled a list of 12 of the best ways to help restore you to a more natural rhythm.
If these methods do not work for you, please consult a doctor to discover what the exact problem may be.
For most people, these natural sleep disorder remedies can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
This is a natural hormone that the body makes which regulates our sleep cycle. Think of it as an internal pacemaker that controls the timing and our desire to sleep. During daylight hours, our bodies stop making melatonin but soon after dark, our body begins to make melatonin which causes us to feel sleepy, lowers our body temperature, and puts us into deep sleep mode. Unfortunately, for reasons not understood, melatonin supplements do not work for everyone. However, they do work for a great many people. A typical dose is 3 mg. Try taking one 3 mg dose about 1 hour before bedtime. Some people say that after taking melatonin, they feel a bit groggy in the mornings so be sure that you have a minimum of 8 hours to sleep it off. Also, getting some early morning sunlight directly on the face (don’t look right at the sun) can help to wake you up naturally.
2. Oil Massage
Who doesn’t love a massage? Hopefully, you can get your spouse or other family member to do this for you. Naturopathic practitioners often recommend massage to relax the body, which induces sleep. Warm a bit of coconut oil or sweet almond oil and massage the oil into the neck, shoulders, back, and bottom of the feet. A good massage should last 10 minutes. Follow this remedy each night, about 30 minutes before bedtime.
This is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in the leaves of green tea. One study performed in 2007 found that subjects who consumed this amino acid had improved immune response to stress and a lower heart rate. L-theanine is thought to stimulate the production of those feel good hormones in the body and is linked in several studies to a more relaxed state of mind. This is a common supplement, found everywhere, but please consult with your doctor before consuming this product.
4. Epsom Salt Soak
Magnesium plays a role in our ability to fall asleep. Studies show that even a minor disruption in our magnesium can prevent the brain from relaxing. Of course, you can always try to consume more magnesium rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, wheat germ, and green leafy vegetables but not only is magnesium difficult for the body to absorb, our depleted soils mean that our foods no longer contain as much magnesium as they used to. This is where Epsom salt comes in. Epsom salts are not really salt but magnesium sulfate flakes. Depending on the size of your bathtub, add between ½ cup and 2 cups of Epsom salts to a very warm bath. Mix the Epsom salt in well until they are completely dissolved. Soak in this bath for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat this procedure three or more times each week about 1 hour before bedtime.
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Speaking of magnesium, almonds are a terrific source of magnesium which encourages both muscle relaxation and a good night’s rest. Almonds also contain another substance known to make people sleepy: tryptophan. Tryptophan increases serotonin levels, which helps to regulate our sleep patterns. Almonds can also help your body maintain a stable blood sugar level while you sleep, so you shouldn’t wake up with the munchies. Simply enjoy one handful of dry roasted almonds about 1 hour before bedtime.
Chamomile is a mild tranquilizer that works well to induce sleep. Just one cup of warm chamomile tea about 1 hour before bedtime will help you to fall asleep quickly and easily. Chamomile tea is sold almost everywhere or you can make it fresh with dried chamomile flowers.
7. Lemon Balm
This is another mildly relaxing herb that is so gentle it is even safe for youngsters. Lemon balm relieves feelings of stress and anxiety so that you can fall asleep more quickly. This tea is also found everywhere. Drink lemon balm tea two or more times each day. It might take 7 to 10 days before you notice results. Lemon balm is also available as an extract but you should speak with your doctor before consuming this as a supplement as too much lemon balm can have adverse effects on your health.
8. Warm Milk
Milk is a great source of calcium, which helps to regulate melatonin in the body. Drinking a warm glass of milk about 1 hour before bedtime really works. This is an old home remedy that is still used today. If you like, mix about ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm milk. For a double whammy sleeping potion, eat a handful of almonds along with your milk.
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OK, banana splits sound good, but we are talking about plain bananas right now. These are a natural sleep aid because, like almonds, they contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Like almonds, the tryptophan in bananas stimulates the production of serotonin, which helps to regulate sleep patterns similar to melatonin. Bananas also contain compounds like potassium and magnesium, which help the muscles of the body relax. Try eating one banana each night about an hour before bedtime. You can also make a sleep inducing smoothie by mixing one banana and a glass of warm milk and drink this one hour before bedtime.
10. Lavender Oil
The sweet scent of lavender is a super relaxing way to calm the mind and body so that you can fall asleep more easily. Research has shown that those who use lavender oil have longer overall sleep times and helps people feel more refreshed in the mornings. Put a couple drops of lavender essential oil on a small cloth or cotton ball and tuck it between your pillow and pillowcase. You can also add a half dozen drops of lavender oil to a warm bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes each night about 1 hour before bedtime. Sweet dreams indeed!
11. Tart Cherry Juice
Well known for their anti-arthritis effect, tart cherry juice also contains melatonin, the hormone which regulates our sleep cycle. Louisiana State University conducted a study which found that those who consumed tart cherry juice regularly increased the length of time subjects stayed asleep in a study done with older adults who suffered from insomnia. Drink ½ a cup of tart cherry juice twice each day for best results.
Like chamomile and lemon balm. Valerian is one of the most common teas for inducing sleep. This herb has muscle relaxing and sedative compounds that encourage deep sleep. Several studies show that valerian encourages deep sleep and seems to improve the overall quality of sleep as well. This tea is readily available. Drink one cup of valerian tea about 1 hour before bedtime. There are also valerian extracts available, but you should check with your doctor for the proper dosage for your unique situation.
- Limit caffeine intake, especially after 5 PM
- Avoid heavy, spicy meals at dinner
- Try gentle exercises that relax the mind and body such as yoga
- Meditate about 5 or 10 minutes before bedtime to clear your mind
- Keep a regular sleep schedule as much as possible
- Limit lights in the bedroom, including night lights
- Keep the bedroom a bit on the cool side, 62 degrees is ideal
- Invest in a good quality mattress
- If you live in a noisy environment, use a white noise machine to mask noise