10 Natural Solutions for a Restful Sleep
Sleepless nights are no fun. They make us groggy and unable to focus, but they're also an underlying threat to our health. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
If you're struggling to get uninterrupted rest on a regular basis, skew the sleeping-pill route and instead try one (or all!) of these natural strategies.
Turn down the dial. Most thermostats let you set the temperature to go down at a certain time each night. Turning the dial just a few degrees lower can help better regulate body temperature, keeping you free from the night sweats.
Soak it up, and soak it in. The sun gives us much-needed vitamin D and helps our bodies produce melatonin, a hormone that literally tells our brains when it's time to go to sleep—so make sure to get your daily dose. At night, a hot bath or shower with some calming essential oils can promote relaxation.
Stop and smell the roses—or in this case, the lavender. The essential oil is well-known for its relaxing properties. Roll some onto your feet and temples before bed, or spray some onto a pillow to help induce calm.
Keep it moving. Study after study shows the importance of regular exercise and its positive impact on our health. The same goes for sleep. Aside from the endorphin release, it can help reduce negative feelings, making for more restful nights.
Eat clean. Artificial, spicy, and fatty foods can not only disrupt the gastrointestinal system but also our sleep rhythms. Eat foods that promote restful sleep, like cherries, kiwi, bananas, chamomile tea, whole-grain crackers, almonds, and salmon.
Power down. The blue light from devices acts as an electronic form of caffeine and can mess with your sleep cycle. Make sure to shut off electronics at least an hour before bedtime so your eyes and brain can prep for sleep.
Write it down. If worry or stress is keeping you awake, try writing it all down in a journal. The power of putting pen to paper exists here too; once it's written down, you may find that your worries go down as well.
Set your bed up for success. Do what you can to make your bed situation as comfortable as possible: splurge on sheets that wick away moisture, invest in a weighted blanket, or upgrade your mattress to an adjustable one. You spend one-third of your life here, so you might as well make it an oasis.
Stretch it out. Yoga is a powerful yet gentle way to relax the mind and body, massaging muscles and organs as you twist and stretch. Even just a few minutes of gentle stretching and mindfulness before bedtime can help.
Try a supplement. If all else fails and those elusive sheep are still, well ... elusive, try one of the many natural supplements available today that aim to promote a more restful, relaxing slumber. Brewing an herbal tea of chamomile and valerian root has become a nightly ritual for my husband and I.