Getting enough sleep is equally important as eating healthy and exercising. Sleep is a precious time when our entire body rejuvenates and heals. Without seven to eight hours of sleep per night, our health will severely suffer. Research has shown that poor sleep is linked to severe medical conditions and illnesses such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Unfortunately, many people have troubles falling asleep or staying asleep at night. Sometimes, our lack of sleep is caused by a tight work schedule. In other cases, our inability to fall asleep is caused by worries and stress. No matter what is causing your insomnia, it is essential to find ways to beat it and get proper rest. Instead of using sleep meds that can actually make your situation worse, turn to natural sleep aids and home remedies.
How Much Sleep Do We Need
The amount of sleep an individual needs depends on multiple factors, such as age and level of physical activity. An adult typically requires seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, if an individual is currently forced to work over-time or engages in strenuous physical activity every day, he requires more sleep in order to stay healthy.
If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t only jeopardize our health, but also the health of others. Experts warn us that we may have troubles focusing and staying alert if we don’t get enough shuteye. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that drowsy sleeping causes thousands of car accidents every year.
Fortunately, this problem doesn’t have to continue. In order to overcome insomnia and sleep better, you just need to make simple lifestyle changes, such as using the following safe and completely natural sleep aids. Using the natural sleep aid and developing healthier sleep habits is all you need to stay refreshed, focused, alert and at your best.
Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
In order to improve your sleep hygiene, you need to tune your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. This inner clock can easily be disrupted if we sleep on a bed mattress, drink too much coffee, eat a lot of junk food and overexpose ourselves to blue light (emitted by electronics).
As Sleepedia says, If your circadian rhythm has been detuned for a long time, sleeping on the best mattress and getting electronics far from the bedroom won’t be enough to get back on track. For restful sleep, using natural sleep aids should become one of your primary better sleep habits.
Calcium has a significant effect on your sleep cycle. A study conducted by European neurologists has shown that calcium levels are at their highest during REM sleep stage. This means that a shorter REM phase may be related to calcium deficiency. Researchers and sleep experts also claim that calcium is vital for sleep because it helps brain cells use the tryptophan to create melatonin. Melatonin is crucial for getting a good night’s rest.
To increase your calcium levels, we recommend taking a glass of warm goat’s milk or kefir before going to bed. Apart from providing you the necessary calcium and magnesium, this warm and tasty drink will also relax you.
Magnesium deficiency can also disturb your sleep. Studies conducted at the University of Geneva’s Department of Psychiatry suggest that higher magnesium levels can help induce a deeper sleep. Better magnesium absorption is ensured if it’s taken with calcium. Higher levels of magnesium also help provide better and more consistent sleep. Foods such as kefir, spinach, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are loaded with magnesium.
Research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed that aromatherapy and essential oils help provide better shuteye. The study was conducted on cancer patients, and it lasted for thirteen weeks. During this period, the patients were given aroma-sticks. When the study was over, 93% of the patients reported they would continue using aroma-sticks for better sleep. Different sleep-inducing blends were used such as bergamot oil or lavender oil. Sandalwood, frankincense, and mandarin are highly recommended for better sleep.
Passion flower has calming and anti-anxiety effects on our mind. It can significantly improve your sleep if you suffer from anxiety or simply need some rest from a busy work week. This potent herb can also relieve your mind from worries and overthinking. It is perfect for unwinding and stopping the vicious circle of thoughts.
Clinical studies have shown that passion flower reduces anxiety better than prescribed meds such as oxazepam. However, the major difference between the two is that passion flower doesn’t cause any side effects such as drowsiness or tiredness during the next day.
Valerian has many healing properties, especially when it comes to relaxation. In combination with chamomile in a tea, it helps to increase the amount of GABA in our brain. GABA works by calming the nerve cells in the brain. Apart from being used as a natural sleeping aid, valerian root is also widely used as a natural remedy for anxiety.
Precautions with Natural Sleep Aids
Although natural sleep remedies don’t usually cause any side effects, it is recommended to start with small amounts because different people may have different reactions to certain foods. If you notice anything unusual, stop using it. If you are currently using prescription medications for sleep, as well as any other medication, it is best to consult with your doctor first. It is recommended to use a journal and track your sleep once you start using a particular natural sleep aid. Keeping track will help you determine what works best for you.
Always have in mind that your health depends on your sleep. Therefore, if you suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder, take your problem seriously and doe everything you can to address it in a timely and proper manner. If natural sleeping aids didn’t help and you can’t get sleep under control, you must seek medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.
About the Author:
Andrew Levacy runs Memory Foam Talk, a site dedicated to unbiased Mattress reviews. As a person who suffers from insomnia for years, my mission is to help people have a better night’s sleep by facilitating the long and often painful process of selecting a new mattress.