Alaska Sleep Education Center

Put Insomnia to Rest with These Natural Sleep Remedies

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Nov 18, 2020 3:46:00 PM

Beautiful woman lying on the bed in the morning and laughing sincerely

Adequate sleep is vital to your health; it should be one of your top priorities, but it often gets put on the back burner. Sleep is the body's way of recharging. Every one of your body's systems relies on sleep to function correctly, including the brain and immune system. Tonight, begin experimenting with some of these natural remedies to keep insomnia at bay.

Exercise

Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise tend to sleep better than people who don't have a workout routine. This means not only getting more sleep but more restful sleep. It may not take as much activity as you would expect to help ward off insomnia. Any amount of exercise is better than none. As little as a brisk 30-minute walk, three days a week can help you grab the extra Zs that you need. One reason that regular exercise helps promote sleep is that it reduces depression, anxiety and stress.

 

Reduce Stress

Stress can cause you to feel exhausted, but it certainly doesn't help you sleep. Instead, it can cause your mind to race as you toss and turn. A vicious cycle can quickly begin: your racing mind will prevent you from sleeping, which leads to exhaustion during the day. This exhaustion leads to more stress, making it even more difficult to rest. Fortunately, there are several simple, natural ways to reduce stress and anxiety. It may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you.

Try creating a relaxing bedtime routine. This routine can include meditating, journaling or reading a book. Also, make sure that you regularly make time to do something you enjoy, so you're not always overwhelmed by life. Many people need some extra help to feel like themselves, and that's OK, too. Completing a PHQ-9 form before visiting a professional will provide an idea of the best support for you.

 

Get Natural Melatonin

Your body's sleep-wake cycle depends on natural light. Sunlight helps your body know the time of day so that it knows which hormones to release. Is it time to be energized or time to begin relaxing? Your hypothalamus, the gland that regulates the body's sleep and energy levels, naturally produces melatonin. When working correctly, more melatonin is released at night to make you sleepy while you have less during the day to feel more alert. Keep your body on its natural schedule by letting the sunshine in immediately after you get up in the morning. You might even make it a point to exercise outdoors early in the day. Be sure to get as much sunlight as possible during the day by sitting next to a window at work or taking breaks outdoors. This will keep your body more awake during the day, allowing you to rest more soundly at night.

 

Have an Evening Snack

Cherries are the only edible source of melatonin available. Fresh or frozen cherries or tart cherry juice are good options for increasing your natural melatonin levels. A banana is an excellent snack for promoting muscle relaxation due to potassium and magnesium content. Bananas are also rich in carbohydrates and tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that's needed for your body's serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls relaxation.

 

Try Herbal Remedies

Some natural herbal products can help promote better sleep. Many people consider chamomile tea, Passionflower, Valerian or St. John's Wort’s valuable additions to their evening routine.

 

Avoid Unhealthy Evening Consumption

Some foods and drinks that can negatively impact your sleep. Caffeine can remain in your system for up to six hours, so by mid-afternoon, you should stop the caffeinated coffee, tea or soda. Stopping early will set your body on the path to relaxation. Fatty foods can be hard on your digestive system, causing insomnia due to stomach issues. Spicy foods also tend to keep people from achieving restful sleep (possibly due to a rise in body temperature).

 

Add Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy helps many people relax. Aromas such as lavender also relieve anxiety. Aromatherapy is available in numerous forms (e.g., pillow mists, scent warmers, lotions, etc.).

 

Avoid Devices

Turn off all screened devices at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light that they emit keeps your brain active. This makes it more difficult to relax for quite a while after looking at the screen. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs should be avoided. If you absolutely must look at something close to bedtime, some devices have night settings to eliminate the blue light.

 

Block Distracting Noises

Distracting sounds can keep you awake or keep you from getting adequate rest. Maybe your family or pets are making noise. Perhaps you live in an apartment where your upstairs neighbor is banging around at all hours of the night. Traffic noise could also be a distraction. A noise machine can help block and replace annoying sounds with relaxing sounds like ocean or rain, or simply white noise.

 

Find the Right Bedding

Your mattress could be one of the problems causing your insomnia. A mattress that's more than seven years old can develop deep impressions and other wear that can significantly impact your sleep. Do you regularly have trouble getting comfortable at night or wake up sore in the morning? You'll probably have to go to a store and try a few different styles of mattresses before you find the right one for you. These days, there are a variety of mattress styles and features from which to choose. It's also essential to have comfortable bedding, such as sheets and pillowcases, that don't trap body heat so that you can stay cool.

 

Turn Down the Temperature

Having your bedroom at a cooler temperature at night promotes sleep. Turn the thermostat down or open your windows if it's cooler outside than indoors. A fan can also be a big help. The ideal sleep temperature is believed to be between 65 and 72 degrees for most people. Although having a cooler temperature helps you snooze, keeping your feet warm also supports sleep; put a pair of warm socks on before jumping into bed. Get a programmable thermostat that you can set to keep you cool at night and then warm up the area a while before you have to get up in the morning.

 

Adjust the Lighting

Artificial light can suppress your melatonin production, so you should limit light as much as possible in the bedroom when you're trying to sleep. Even the light on your alarm clock can have an adverse effect. Blackout curtains, or even an eye mask, work wonders for some people.

 

Conclusion

Adequate sleep is essential to your overall well being. Begin today developing a plan to make a good night's sleep a top priority.  If natural remedies haven't help you get past your insomnia, you may have a sleep disorder.  Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today @ 907-770-9104.

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Topics: sleep habits, remedies

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