A lack of sleep can be detrimental to your physical health as well as your mental health. If you are having trouble sleeping, you are not alone. In fact, I read that 1 in 4 people are experiencing sleep troubles! I believe, taking sleep drugs are not the answer. Luckily, there are so many natural remedies that can assist your body in sleeping and staying asleep.
I’d like to preface this post first by saying, for the most part-I’m lucky when it comes to sleeping. However, I have had bouts of sleep issues and it is one of the most depressing, frustrating issues EVER. So my heart goes out to you if you are suffering from not being able to sleep. I’ve done my research and I’m hoping I might have found a remedy you haven’t tried that could be the answer.
Before we dig in, let’s talk about the dangers of taking sleep inducing drugs. First off, they can be addictive making it very difficult to sleep without them. Not to mention the difficulty of weaning off of them. Also, sleep walking is a common side-effect that could lead to catastrophic events. Side effects of common sleep drugs like Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien, Rozerem, and Halcion are depression, tingling in the hands and feet, diarrhea, headaches, stomach pains, weird dreams, shaking, impaired health the day after, memory issues, dry mouth, constipation etc. The list goes on and on. I had a friend that took Ambien and would actually get in her car and drive. She had no recollection of it the next day. Personally, that would be a deal breaker.
Tryptophan is the reason most of us pass out after Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is high in tryptophan but I personally don’t want turkey every night before bed. Tart Cherry juice is very high in tryptophan and only 4-8 ounces before bed is needed.
Reduce EMF Exposure in the Bedroom
EMFs (electomagnetic fields) interfere with our body’s cellular functions-one being our body’s ability to get a good night’s rest. We are actually electrical beings ourselves and our cells, tissues and organs communicate with each other. If an outside source interferes with that communication, a plethora of health issues could occur. Unfortunately EMFs come from electrical outlets and are intensified by electronics plugged into those outlets. All though we can’t get rid of electrical outlets in our bedroom, we can refrain from charging our computers and phones where we sleep. We can also do away with cordless phones in our sleep environment. Unplugging electronics at night can reduce EMF exposure as well. For more info. on the dangers of EMF exposure go HERE and HERE.
Also, blue lights such as TV, cell phone, computer screens and alarm clocks can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin and serotonin.
We always turn our phone on airplane mode before bed. I can always tell if my husband forgets to do it because I sleep very restlessly. I highly suggest you try this and see if you can’t tell a difference! It’s the easiest remedy there is!
I have to say, exercise does the trick for most. You want to be careful not to exercise too close to bed because this can have the opposite effect. Take it from me-a spin class might be all you need!
Magnesium helps muscles relax as well as helps the regulation of dopamine and serotonin. If your magnesium levels are low, depression and insomnia are likely. I take THIS magnesium supplement and have ordered THIS one as well for nights that I don’t have time to drink my magnesium.
See below about a magnesium bath as well.
White noise seems a bit odd to me. Why make noise to stay asleep? Well, according to my research, white noise is noise at the same frequency. When we are awoken in the night by a noise, it’s usually because it’s a different frequency then constant silence. In order to drown out changes in noise frequency, a sound machine can often mask little noises that can interrupt sleep.
I used to use a white noise machine to drown out my x’s snoring so I can see that this might be helpful. I also had a sound machine in each nursery when my girls were babies so that me tip toeing down the hall wouldn’t wake them. I used to have THIS affordable machine (in fact, we had 3!) and could chose from 6 different white noises including thunderstorm, ocean waves, rain, white noise and my favorite, a babbling brook! Plus, it can be plugged in or you can use batteries (which lowers EMF exposure!).
Get on a Schedule
This is so imperative. Not being on a schedule upsets our body’s circadian rhythm a.k.a, our internal clock. When you are going to bed at different times and/or even eating in the middle of the night, your body gets confused as to when it should produce melatonin and serotonin. Stick to a schedule 7 days a week. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning can really go a long way when it comes to stopping sporadic sleeping. Your body thrives on routine even if you think you don’t!
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is powerful y’all. Make a linen spray and spray it all over the bed. Find a recipe HERE. You could even place a cotton ball with lavender under you pillow for added effectiveness. Diffusing lavender is also very helpful. When I had sleep difficulties, I used to apply lavender to my wrists and behind my ears as well as deeply inhale it right before bed. Find the best smelling lavender HERE.
Soak in A Warm Salt Bath
Not only is a warm bath relaxing, there is also a scientific reason it can help with sleep. It’s called Thermoregulation. While we sleep, our body temp is at it’s lowest. Our body temp rises significantly by taking a hot bath. Our body’s response to a hot bath is to quickly lower our temperature. This mimics what the body does when we are asleep, therefore giving our body the signal to release sleep inducing hormones.
To support your body’s lowered temp., keep your room cool as well.
Also, soaking in an epsom salt bath can remedy mineral depletion (like magnesium) and illicit better sleep. Take your warm salt bath 90-120 minutes before bedtime.
Lately, I’ve been taking magnesium baths using THIS magnesium. I highly recommend it.
Block Out ALL Light
A completely dark room has been proven to help you sleep as well as keep you asleep. Even a digital clock can emit too much light. Not to mention, if I happen to wake up in the night, the last thing I need to do is look at what time it is. This will wake my mind up and make it impossible to go back to sleep. Any light at all can have a huge effect on your circadian rhythm believe it or not. If you are not able to totally block out light, a sleep mask will do the trick!
I really hope I have shed some light (no pun intended) on a few possible sleep remedies. I urge you to quit the prescription sleep drugs and begin the road to finding a healthier solution that will work for you longterm. Studies have shown that people who take prescription sleep drugs are 35% more likely to get cancer. Imagine if there was a simple tweak that could get you on the right track to getting good sleep? If nothing else, address the EMF exposure. It has been the most helpful for me and my husband.
Do you have an other tricks to getting better sleep? Please share!