Sleep deprivation is a major problem in America. It often leads to an increased risk of accidents and decreased productivity at work, not to mention the increase in irritability and general grumpiness. This blog post will provide 10 naturopathic ways you can improve your sleep! Check it out now for some quick fixes that are easy enough for anyone with no experience or knowledge about natural medicine!
We have put together a list of simple tips that can help you fall asleep fast and stay asleep throughout the night. These are steps I take every night before bed, to ensure I’m well-rested when it’s time to wake up.
- Drink Chamomile Tea or Sleepy Time Herbal Tea
Choosing the right tea is an easy way to promote better sleeping habits. Theanine has been shown in multiple studies to promote relaxation and calmness, which will lead to improved sleep quality. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that people who took L-Theanine at night slept more soundly than those who took a placebo pill. The effect was most noticeable among those who had trouble with sleep, to begin with.
- Turn off Electronics at Least 30 Minutes Before Bedtime
Electronics often contain screens that emit blue light, which is known to interfere with the release of melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate sleep and wake cycles in humans, so anything that disrupts this process will impair your ability to get high-quality rest. For example, just having bright light from an alarm clock or street lights peeking through your curtains can keep you up at night! If you absolutely need to check email or read just before bed, use apps that block blue light such as f.lux or Twilight. This step may be difficult for those who struggle with insomnia as a result of anxiety, as it can leave them feeling uneasy. In these cases, I recommend taking some time explaining not only how electronics impact sleep but also the connection between anxiety and lack of sleep.
- Make Sure the Temperature of Your Room is Comfortable
I like to keep my house on the cooler side (around 72°F) in order to better fall asleep at night. If you find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night, this could be due to your body temperature fluctuating too frequently. When our body temperature rises and falls, we often wake up feeling hot or cold which makes it difficult to get into deep sleep stages. One study found that when subjects slept in a room that was 18°C (64°F), they fell asleep faster, woke less frequently, felt more refreshed in the morning, and had longer REM sleep than those who slept in a warmer room. Therefore, make sure you turn down your thermostat before bedtime!
- Use Relaxing Essential Oils Before Bedtime
I like to diffuse lavender and chamomile essential oils in the room where I’m sleeping before bed. Both of these oils have been shown repeatedly to relax muscles, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress which can all be major causes of insomnia. To increase the intensity, you can apply some lavender oil directly to your skin or drink 4-5 drops of chamomile tincture under your tongue right before turning off the lights. The other great thing about using essential oils is that they are easy for anyone to use whether they’re young or old, male or female, sick or healthy. The other members of your household should reap just as many benefits from these natural remedies as you do!
- Move Your Body (Exercise) During the Day and Eat a Healthy Diet
When it comes to sleep, we usually think of exercise as something that keeps us up at night. However, this is typically due to timing which can be remedied by doing your workout earlier in the day. Exercise has been shown in multiple studies to help people fall asleep faster and increase deep sleep hours . If you’re like most Americans and don’t like working out, I recommend taking a look at my article on how yoga is good for your health, especially if you feel stressed or anxious. Yoga practices often involve gentle movements and controlling breath which directly link back to the above tips involving reducing stress and anxiety.
Eating a healthy diet is also important for sleep, as certain foods can help or hinder your ability to fall asleep at night. For example, you should eat small meals throughout the day but avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime. Eating heavy foods makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep because digestion requires energy that could otherwise be used for sleeping. I recommend getting plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, lean proteins, etc. If you’re looking for other ways to treat insomnia naturally without medication, these are all great places to start!
- Train Your Brain (Mental Exercises) During the Day
Not only do we need physical exercise during the day, but mental exercise as well! Just like our bodies, our brains get tired and need a reprieve. Mental exercises such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or other challenging games can help leave your mind fresh after a long workday or busy weekend. I’ve discussed the benefits of doing puzzles before which you can read about in my article on memory and brain health.
By training your mind throughout the day, you will make it stronger and more resilient to stress and anxiety while also creating new brain cells (aka neurogenesis). The best part? You don’t have to do anything too intense; we all spend way too much time staring at screens these days (for work, school, etc.) which leaves us with very little free time for other activities like exercising! This is why I actually encourage people to do puzzles throughout the day instead of all at once. By breaking your brain training up into 5-10 minute sessions (or even 30 minutes, but no longer), you can add more time to your day while also adding more health benefits! Of course, like any other exercise, it’s important not to overdo it and hurt yourself in the process.
- Try An Herbal Remedy
If you’re looking for an all-natural way to treat insomnia that doesn’t involve taking a pill or having someone else control what you eat and drink then herbal remedies are great options. Nothing puts me to sleep more quickly than sipping on some warm chamomile tea with a spoonful of honey before bed. The reason chamomile and many other teas help with sleep is that they contain a natural herb called “apigenin” which has been shown in clinical trials to reduce anxiety while improving the quality of sleep. Although this is just one example, there are countless herbal remedies you can try for insomnia. Just remember that while these treatments tend to be safe and effective, it’s always best to consult your doctor before trying something new!
- Use Supplements Wisely (Preparations, Herbs, Amino Acids, Vitamins)
As I mentioned earlier in this article under tip #5 About exercise, some vitamins and supplements work together synergistically which means using them together is more powerful than using them separately. There are also many supplements that work alone but tend to be weaker than using multiple products together. One example of this is magnesium and calcium; when the two minerals are used in combination, they both work more efficiently. The same can be applied for sleep, which is why I often recommend a product called MagTech since it combines magnesium with other ingredients such as GABA , L-Theanine , and melatonin . These ingredients are all linked to improving sleep, which is why combining them together works synergistically.
- Get Good Quality Sleep
The weather might be getting warmer but try leaving your window open all night to let some fresh air in or even use a humidifier if the air is too dry. While many people think air conditioners help you sleep better, research has shown that the noise from the machines actually prevents you from sleeping . Furthermore, make sure to keep your bedroom cool with a comfortable temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control
Many people who suffer from insomnia are usually dealing with blood sugar imbalances since insulin resistance is associated with obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes which all contribute to not only poor sleep but also increased risk of heart disease. It’s important to get these problems under control because most people don’t realize how much they’re affecting their sleep patterns until they start improving them! If you’re unsure whether or not your blood sugar levels are in check, I recommend getting a hemoglobin A1c test (also called the HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin test) to check your average blood sugar levels.
We hope you found some new ideas for improving your sleep. If these tips didn’t work, don’t worry! Naturopathic medicine is a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on the whole person and their environment. There are many other ways we can help give you the restful nights of deep uninterrupted sleep you deserve so call us today!
About the Authors
Society’s Voice advocates for Naturopathic treatments for a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. We know that the efficacy of naturopathic medicine dates back to the 1890s, and are heartened to see naturopathic medicine undergo a rapid increase in public interest in recent years as a result of the growing consumer movement to solve the healthcare puzzle using prevention, wellness and respect for nature’s inherent healing ability.
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