Insomnia is a condition where a person has a difficult time falling asleep at night or staying asleep through the night. This condition is more common than you might think with anywhere from 30-50 percent of the world population suffering annually. This condition can be very frustrating, and can even become debilitating in some cases. If you or someone you know suffers from insomnia, or if you just have a tough time getting to sleep at night, try some or all of the following suggestions for an easier nights sleep.
1. Stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime : Going to bed with a full stomach not only hinders proper digestion, it also hinders proper sleep. A study done at the University of Australia showed that eating a heavy meal before bed had a strong impact on the amount of deep sleep their study participants got during the night. It is best to finish your dinner several hours before bed, and if you do need to eat closer to bed time to choose something light.
2. Take tea time: Drinking a soothing cup of herbal tea can help induce sleepiness and help ease you into a good nights sleep. Passion Flower, chamomile and peppermint are all great herbs to try as they all have a mild sedative effect. Do not drink your sedative herbal teas before driving or operating heavy machinery 🙂
3. Sleep with the sun: Melatonin is one of the most important hormones that your body produces for sleep. Naturally, we will have a rise in melatonin production as our eyes see the sun going down (as it gets dark.) Now, with all the lights we can turn on at all hours of the night many of us are missing this all important hormone and its action. Try turning out the lights and turning off the t.v as the sun goes down, or try sitting in only very dim light for at least an hour before going to bed to allow for the melatonin to do its job.
4. Create a sleep routine: Giving yourself an hour at night to wind down can be a great way to signal to your body that it is time to shut down and rest. Create a ritual where you turn off all electronics and sit with a cup of tea in dim light with a good book, sit quietly in meditation, journal your thoughts from the day, chat with your children or your partner – anything that works for you and makes you feel relaxed. Create some consistency in your nighttime routine for best results.
5. Sleep and wake at the same time daily: When you are staying up late one night, then trying to go the bed early the next, followed by another late night and so on can wreak havoc on your ability to get a good nights sleep. As much as is possible, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends) Your body craves routine, and once a routine is set the body is pretty good at keeping it. In this way you will essentially be “teaching” your body that your set bedtime is sleep time and eventually your body will fall into that rhythm naturally.
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