Tuesday, October 14, 2014

12 Natural Solutions to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

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Getting a good night’s sleep is more important than most people realise. Not only does adequate and good quality rest mean that we have more energy and a clear head to get through the day, but it is also vital for stress management, and for a healthy functioning endocrine system.
If having good quality sleep is something eludes you, then you might find these tips useful!


1. Cut Out Blue Light Before Bedtime

It is a curse of our modern lifestyles that we spend more time indoors than ever before. Not only foes this mean that we are exposed to more blue light than is healthy for our bodies when it comes to rest, but it also means we miss out on receiving enough natural light too.

Blue light is stress-inducing and does impair the quality of you sleep at night by messing with your natural sleep cycle. It also stimulates the stress hormone cortisol and affects how melatonin, the natural sleep hormone, is dispersed throughout body.

To avoid excessive blue light, especially at night, you want to turn off your TV and give yourself a screen curfew 30 minutes before bed. That means no computers, iPods, iPads or mobile phone before bedtime. Try having warm bath, some quiet conversation or read a good book instead.


2. Walk Barefoot Outside

This might seem a little woo woo but studies have been done to prove the benefits of “earthing”, that is, walking barefoot on the ground. This helps to ground the body, providing you with a better night’s sleep.


3. Eat Balanced Meals Throughout the Day

The connection between food and sleep might not seem obvious, but it is really important to maintain stable blood sugar levels as this directly affects the quality of your sleep. Eat a good, balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner with healthy snacks in between to keep your blood sugar levels stable.


4. Take Calcium

Right before bed take a calcium supplement. Calcium is an important nutrient for sleep because it supports energy production, regulates blood sugar and keeps the stress hormone parathyroid under control, which can lead to insomnia when not kept in check.


5. Cut Back the Caffeine

Due to its stimulant qualities, caffeine is best avoided in the afternoon and evenings as it can affect you natural sleep-wake cycle and your hormonal rhythms which lead to better sleep when kept in check.


6. No Alcohol Before Bed

Even though you might think a little alcoholic night cap is what you need to relax and sleep well, it is actually adversely affecting your sleep quality, Alcohol affects the REM sleeps , can drop your blood sugar levels which in turn causes your stress hormones to rise, which will leads to your waking up throughout the night. That is why you wake up feeling unrested after having a night on the booze!


7. Try to Mostly Eat Real, Whole Foods

Eating whole foods, and avoiding very highly-processed, junky, foods is imperative for good sleep quality. These foods usually contain additives, thickeners, emulsifiers, and other not-real food ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and MSG. All of these ingredients are highly inflammatory, highly stimulating and toxic to the nervous system, which means they are highly disruptive to your sleep health.


8. Try Natural Sleep Supplements

These herbs and supplements have been linked to improvements in sleep:

  • Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant which helps to regulate blood sugar by assisting your cells in producing energy from glucose.
  • Valerian Root is known as an effective sleep aid, sedative, and pain reliever.
  • Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and is known to have such a calming sedative effect which is highly beneficial for sleep. Try it as a tea before bedtime

9. Get a Comfortable Mattress

They say that one of the best investments you can make is a good quality mattress. Not only should it be comfortable and supportive to your back, but you want your mattress to be made from high quality and toxin-free fabrics.


10. Reduce EMFs

EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, are emitted from almost all electronic devices, particularly those which send or receive a signal wirelessly such as cell phones and wireless internet routers. EMFs disrupt the pineal gland, which communicates with the hypothalamus, a gland that greatly impacts the metabolic pathways. Messing with your pineal gland can therefore impact your sleep by taking longer for you to get to sleep and having less time in deep sleep. Turn off your mobile phone and wireless internet router and night time, and keep them out of your bedroom to improve sleep quality.


11. Maintain a Nice Room and Body Temperature

For good quality sleep, you want to maintain a nice, warm temperature so you are not too cold and not too hot to feel comfortable.


12. Establish a Healthy Routine for Bed Time

It is important to have a bedtime that you stick to every day. It is recommended to be in no later than 10:00 pm, which mean starting to get ready for bed no later than 9:30. It is also recommended to have some bedtime routines that you start before 9:30pm that will help you to relax before bedtime. Try doing some stretching, yoga, massage or taking a warm bath with essential oils to stimulate relaxation.

Which of these practices do you think are easiest to follow? Do you have any other suggestions for having a healthy sleep?

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