4 Simple Tips For a Better Nights Sleep
If you have ever been a student, parent, or just a human being, you have likely struggled with sleep.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Consumer Reports found that 164 million Americans struggle with getting quality sleep at least one night a week. This is a major concern because it is the #1 thing that we can do to support our health and wellbeing.
When we sleep, we give the body a chance to rest deeply and complete important metabolic functions. When we rest, our parasympathetic nervous system rules over our sympathetic system and allows our body to repair and focus on digestion, hormone regulation, immunity, and elimination.
It is no wonder so many are suffering from sleep challenges these days. In our go, go, go lifestyle, we can easily get wrapped up in work, caring for our children and our own personal passions that we push sleep to the side to get more done.
Contrary to our efforts, skimping on sleep to do other things, only slows us down and will not increase our productivity overall. In fact, many illnesses are born out of stress and not having enough restful periods for our body to recoup. When the body get’s to the point of being pushed too far, it will find its own way of slowing down.
So just how much sleep a night do we need?
Nathaniel Watson, M.D., co-director of the University of Washington Sleep Center in Seattle and president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine believes,
“You need as much sleep as it takes for you to stay awake and alert the next day, without caffeine.”
4 Ways to Fall Asleep The Natural Way
This is not for those with chronic sleep issues and please be sure to consult with your practitioner when trying anything new. Here are a few nature tips that I use to support better sleep in my life:
1. Make space
Before you go to sleep, set the mood.
What does your current bedtime routine look like? Is your bed made before you get in? Is your room a quiet resting place? Do you wake up sweating?
An ideal sleeping environment would be a room with a cool, comfortable temperature. Lights out and black out curtains drawn. Create an environment that you would want to cocoon yourself up in each night. You should look forward to wanting to be in this space. That means removing clutter, work papers and hiding those piles of laundry.
To assist in setting the mood and getting your body in the space it needs for restful sleep, you can decompress by adding meditation, breath work, journaling, prayer or gratitude into your routine.
Create space in your life to have a consistent sleep schedule that has you in bed with enough time to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
If you try to fall asleep but are restless after 20 minutes, get out of bed. Go sit in a chair, make a cup of soothing de-caffinated tea and read a book or stare up at the stars.
One of the best things you can do before you get horizontal is to make sure you turn off your devices. Going straight from phone or TV to shuteye can delay your sleep and inhibit your quality of your sleep. Turn off devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. No, you don’t need to watch the next episode, even though your are exhausted. Save it for the next day!
Using electronic devices before bed, messes up your circadian rhythm which is your body’s internal clock. The sleep inducing hormone, melatonin doesn’t get released when you are staring at these screens. This is in part because of of the blue light emitted. Even if you find you fall asleep watching a show, your REM sleep is reduced as it takes longer for your body to get to where it needs to be. You may find you are less alert the following morning.
An ideal bedtime routine would consist of giving yourself some time to quiet your mind before you go to sleep. To do this, try reading a book or magazine on a topic you enjoy, journaling, praying or going through what you are grateful for.
You have permission to ZEN out!
2. Relax the body
Some days are just TOUGH! Shed that stress off you the best you can before bedtime.
I give you permission to take a luxurious bath. Epsom salts, bath bombs, CBD oil, bubbles, candles, whatever it is that get’s you in there. The warm water will help support your muscles in relaxing and the warmth will start to slow your body down. Feel free to play music but don’t play on your phone. The point is to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect to your inner world. Focus on the sensations you are feeling while in the bath, how is your breathing, what do you smell and hear? This is your chance to allow yourself quiet.
Stay warm and cozy as you wind down your evening. The heat helps to relieve tension in your muscles.
Put on those warm furry socks or favorite hoody when you get home.
Push it up a notch and offer to trade massages with your partner of give yourself a massage on your own before bed.
Do you sleep naked? This could actually help!
3. Breath work
Banish those anxious thoughts with breath.
This is almost along the lines of counting sheep. Focusing your mind on a simple, repetative activity helps to quiet the mind and allows your body to begin to relax. Each breath that you take, impacts the entire body. For centuries, Eastern medicine has recognized controlled breath and its impacts on the health of our bodies. When we allow oxygen to enter our body in a controlled way, we signal to the body that we can turn down our fight or flight response.
Have you heard of the 4-7-8 breathing technique for sleep?
It’s pretty simple and I’ve tried it. It is a great way to slow the body down.
How it works is you inhale slowly through the nose for a four count. Then, you hold that breath for seven seconds. Slowly release for a count of eight through the mouth and repeat again. Try this four-five times and check in with how your body is feeling.
4. Herbal support
When you feel like you’ve given the above a good try but want to aid your sleep with a natural sleep supplement, I have you covered.
According to the Herbal Academy, the best herbs for helping with sleep are:
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
- Chamomile(Matricaria chamomilla)
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
- California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)
- Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
- Hops (Humulus lupulus)
- Corydalis (Corydalis ambigua)
- Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
If you don’t have an herbal apothecary nearby or not really into that, look for products and teas that contain these ingredients.
For those who are too tired to make their own sleepy time concoction I use a natural herbal sleep aid supplement called Gentle Sleep Complex.
My Favorite Sleep Support Herbal Supplement
Gentle Sleep Complex combines some of the best herbs listed above such as passion flower, chamomile and valerian. This unique formula is produced by Shaklee Corporation which has combined breakthrough scientific research with pure, safe, and proven ingredients to develop the world’s most cutting-edge and life-enhancing health products. Shaklee is a leading health and wellness company with a long history of pioneering advances in nutritional science. Shaklee products are backed by over 135 clinical studies, published papers, and scientific presentations that show they make a difference in your health.
Here is what people are saying about Shaklee’s Gentle Sleep Complex:
Before starting w/Gentle Sleep I was having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. OTC sleep aids made me very groggy in the AM. But since I started taking Gentle Sleep I now fall asleep easily and even though I nearly always have to get up at night at least once I now go back to sleep quickly. And I don’t wake up groggy at all. – TONYA
This product gives me a restful night’s sleep. It quiets my mind and allows me to sleep. If I do wake up in the middle of the night, I am able to go back to sleep quickly. I do not wake up groggy. – DENISE
My daughter has always had trouble sleeping through the night, since she was very young. I recently bought this for her to try, and she tells me that she has never slept better! This is now a staple for us! Thanks Shaklee!- SANDRA
Have other tips to share? What have you tried that did or did not work for you?