Have you ever found yourself tossing and turning over and over again when trying to go to sleep? Can’t stop thinking? That is called insomnia and it is a problem for many people.
But, rest assured (yes, pun intended), there are ways to treat insomnia naturally.
Causes of Insomnia:
Stress, room temperature, environmental noises or changes, medication side effects, hormones, depression, and chronic pain are just some causes of insomnia. Alcohol, caffeine, and smoking cigarettes before bedtime can also disrupt sleep along with excessive napping in the afternoon or evening hours.
Ways to Naturally Treat Insomnia:
Establish a Regular Bedtime Routine —
Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, including weekends. Turn off all lights, including television, and cell phone. The light emitted from both can interrupt normal sleep cycles. Possibly utilize a “white noise” type experience using a sleep device. If possible, take a warm bath, meditate, or do relaxation exercises just prior to bedtime.
Exercise During the Day —
Studies have shown people who are physically active sleep better than those who are sedentary. Expending more energy (preferably earlier in the day), the sleepier you will feel at bedtime.
Avoid Afternoon Slumps —
You can avoid afternoon slumps by not only exercising but also avoiding lunches that are heavy in carbohydrates, as this can leave you feeling sleepy. Balance your lunch with both carbs and protein. Stay away from refined and processed foods especially those high in sugar. Initially, your energy level will have a major boost but will soon be followed by a swift decline.
A healthier snack option would be fresh fruit with some nuts to balance out your blood sugar levels. Avoiding too much caffeine (coffee, sodas) will also help. Instead, try green tea which is lower in caffeine. Avoid large meals late in the evening as they tend to contribute to insomnia as well.
Practice Mantram —
Mantram is the practice of repeating over and over in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help unify consciousness and counteract negative mental states. It’s extremely helpful for those with restless minds, whose turbulent thoughts keep them from relaxing and falling asleep. The repetition of a verbal formula is a way of re-focusing the thinking mind and counteracting the damage done to both the mind and body by thoughts producing anxiety, agitation, and unhappiness.
Start by choosing a word, sound, or phrase that is pleasing to you and repeat it. If you find your mind wandering, re-focus back on the word.
Natural Sleep Aids —
A sedative herb which you can find in most health food stores and even pharmacies.
A natural hormone produced by the body and regulates the “wake/sleep” cycle along with other daily biorhythms.
Also found in green leafy vegetables along with sesame and sunflower seeds, is another supplement that should actually be taken together with CALCIUM as they work well together in the body. Calcium is actually absorbed by the bone while we sleep so taking it right before bed is more beneficial.
An Ayurvedic herb which helps the body deal with stress and anxiety.
Essential oils, such as Lavender, rubbed onto your neck, soles of feet, and pillowcases will also help relax the body.
An amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin which helps with relaxation. You can find this naturally in turkey, chicken, and tuna. This is why after eating a large Thanksgiving turkey dinner, most people need to take a nap!
An amino acid that creates a feeling of tranquility in as little as 15 minutes. It works with GABA (Gama Aminobutyric-acid), a neurotransmitter to promote relaxation and calming of the nerves. GABA also works with Melatonin to help wind down your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
It is the main inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter in the brain preventing excessive muscle tension and assisting our bodies in making endorphins, the chemical that makes us happy. Deficiencies in GABA have been linked to insomnia and feeling stressed, tense, and “down in the dumps.”
Typical Adult Dosages for Each Natural Sleep Aid:
- VALERIAN – 600 mg before bed
- MELATONIN – 1-3 mg (30) minutes before bed
- CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM – 500 mg Calcium/250 mg Magnesium before bed
- L-TRYPTOPHAN – 1,000 mg before bed
- L-THEANINE – 200 mg per day GABA – 500 mg per day
- ASHWAGANDHA – 300-1,000 mg per day
Here’s to your best, restful sleep! Treat insomnia tonight!
– Dr. Christine
Note: You should always consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting these or any other supplements to determine if they are right for your needs.