A Natural Remedy Guide for Healthful Sleep
Table of Contents
SLEEP WELL 1
A NATURAL REMEDY GUIDE FOR HEALTHFUL SLEEP 1
CHAPTER 1 5
BEHAVIORAL CHANGES FOR HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS 5
Habits at Bedtime 5
Sleep Environment 6
Sleep Equipment 7
CHAPTER 2 9
SELF-HELP SLEEP TECHNIQUES 9
Color Therapy 9
Physical Activity 11
Relaxation through Meditation 12
Simple Respiration: Breathing and Relaxing 13
Music and Sounds for Sleep Induction 14
Reducing Your Evening Stimulation 16
Stay Away from Internal Stimulants 17
Your Diet Matters 18
Get Rid of Anxiety and Worry 20
Bath time 21
CHAPTER 3 23
HERBAL REMEDIES AND SUPPLEMENTS 23
Your Body’s Natural Hormones 23
The Benefits of Chamomile 24
The Soothing Properties of Lavender 25
The Medicinal Use of Valerian Root 27
A World of Other Herbs 29
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements 31
Everyone experiences trouble sleeping once in a while. While this may be inconvenient, it’s often temporary. When occasional sleepless nights turn into a regular occurrence of many nights in a row with interrupted sleep, you might have a sleeping problem.
When you don’t get enough sleep for an extended period of time your tiredness impacts every part of your life. Physically, you might notice a decrease in your productivity and daily activities. Emotionally, you may experience relationship problems or a change in your personality. Mentally, a chronic sleep problem can create stress and anxiety.
There are three categories of sleep deprivation and insomnia. The first stage, called “initial” insomnia, is when you first realize you’re having difficulty achieving a sleep state and occurs when it takes longer than a half an hour to fall asleep. “Middle” insomnia is when you have difficulty staying asleep. Once awakened, you stay awake through the wee hours of the morning. The most sever level of insomnia is “late” or “terminal” insomnia. This is when you wake up early in the morning and stay awake after sleeping less than 6 hours.
There are a variety of reasons that you may be having trouble sleeping. If your insomnia is due to a medical condition, your doctor will be able to provide you with suggestions and appropriate medical attention. If it’s determined that your sleep problem is due to a medical condition, the condition will be treated with the intention that this will in turn treat the insomnia.
On the other hand, if your sleep difficulties are occurring because you are stuck in a cycle of sleepless nights, or your insomnia is due to your inability to reach a state of inner peace needed to achieve sleep, this book is for you. Here you’ll find healthy options to try before taking potentially harmful and habit forming prescription sleep aids.
In this book you’ll learn about:
— Preparing the perfect sleep environment
— Relaxation techniques
— The role of exercise and diet in your sleep health
— How to quiet your mind to promote good sleep
— Beneficial natural supplements
When following the tips in this book, you will have all of the tools needed to stop tossing and turning at night and start enjoying a full night’s sleep, naturally. You will wake up feeling rejuvenated and attentive, instead of exhausted and restless. Prepare yourself drift off to dreamland naturally!
Behavioral Changes for Healthy Sleep Habits
Habits at Bedtime
It is essential that your brain has consistency by creating a bedtime schedule so that your body can learn how to fall asleep without medication. Create a sleep strategy to determine the best routine, and plan to follow the routine for one to two weeks before making any alterations.
Your sleep strategy should include:
— A regular bedtime
— A consistent wake time
— A record of any natural supplements you have tried
— Routine activities that are not stimulating such as brushing your teeth or reading
Moving through a regular bedtime process will signal to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. The desired end result of having a sleep strategy is regular sleep that’s restful and refreshing.
Plan to get 7—8 hours of sleep nightly, and don’t allow yourself to oversleep. If you wake up the same time every day you’ll establish a routine. Avoid naps during the day because your body will be confused, and it will interrupt your sleep pattern. You can’t bank extra hours of sleep, and trying to sleep later in the morning to make up for sleep lost overnight will leave you feeling tired.
Every person has different sleep habits, so be patient while you work through the process of finding the sleep plan that works best for you.
In addition to a regular bedtime schedule, it is important to make you bedroom a place that is conducive to sleep. The more comfortable and relaxing your sleep space is, the better your chances for falling asleep and staying asleep. Consider these tips when creating your relaxing sleep atmosphere:
— Get rid of all annoyances and interruptions.
— Control the room temperature; cooler air (between 65 and 70 degrees F) is typically more comfortable for sleep, however, set the temperature to your preference.
— Allow for room ventilation, if possible. Crack a window slightly to allow for air flow. The circulating fresh air will help you breathe deeply, and provide oxygen that is essential for good sleep.
— Use ear plugs if there are noises outside the bedroom. There are many types of plugs that are specifically for sleeping, so if at first you don’t find the perfect pair, try another.
— Mask noises with a white noise machine if you decide to not wear earplugs. Machines are designed specifically for this purpose, or you can use a fan or air conditioner to provide the background noise. This will hide background sounds such as traffic or a barking dog.
— Try using a CD player to play soothing background music.
— Your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock, relies on light and dark patterns to determine when to signal your body to fall asleep. Keep your room as dark as possible to help your body settle into a sleep state. Use mini-blinds and thick curtains to block light from windows. Try wearing an eye mask to block any remaining light.
— Having a clock by your bedside might be adding to your sleep problem. If you are watching the clock all night long, face it toward the wall so that
you can’t see the time. Constantly looking at the clock only makes you think about sleep, and lack of sleep, which continues the cycle of sleeplessness.
— Consider a room humidifier for winter months when the air is dry.
— Use your room only for sleeping. Remove the TV, computer, stereo. Your mind should associate your bedroom only with sleep.
— Wear the most comfortable clothing you own. Non-constrictive clothing won’t wake you in the middle of the night.
As you can see here, there are many different tips to try to help you sleep better. Each individual has their own unique combination of elements that make up their perfect sleep environment. If one suggestion doesn’t work for you, make note and try another until you find out what works best for you.
Also important to the sleep environment is the equipment used when sleeping.
Sleep equipment includes the pillow, bedding, mattress, and sleep clothes.
Your mattress should be smooth and firm so that your back is well-supported and your body is comfortable when lying down. Make sure the mattress is supported completely by the bed frame to avoid sagging.
The mattress should also be appropriately sized for your body. Make sure you have a big enough bed so that you have enough space. If you have a single or double bed, consider buying a larger queen or king sized mattress.
Use whatever style and type of pillow you find most comfortable. It doesn’t matter what it’s made of as long as it provides you with neck and head support.
The sheets and blankets should be clean and pressed. If you do not like feeling tucked in, loosen the sheets so that your feet can move around freely.
To find the right temperature for you, experiment with different blankets of a variety of weights and materials. Since a cool room is most conducive to sleep, keep the lower temperature in mind when selecting bedding.
Find a sleep position that is comfortable for you and lay in that position so that your body knows it’s time for sleep. Whether it is lying on your back, on your side, or on your stomach, your favorite position will help you instantly get relaxed.
Self-Help Sleep Techniques
Using color therapy, or “chromatherapy”, is a unique way to treat a variety of ailments, including, but not limited to, sleep problems. Chromatherapy involves being exposed to color in various ways. Being shown colored lights, visualizing and meditating on a color, being massaged with colored oils, and wearing specific colors can help treat both physically and emotionally caused sleep problems.
Chromatherapy has a long history. Ancient Indian beliefs practiced chromatherapy in Ayurvedic medicine, where it was believed that colors corresponded to parts of the body, emotions and spiritual aspects of life. They believed that each of the charkas, areas of energy in the body, linked to a color.
Ancient Egyptians used chromatherapy by breaking up the sunlight with specially created lenses. They built solariums where they practiced chromatherapy.
Chromatherapy as we know it was developed in the late 1600’s when scientist Sir Isaac Newton proved that light is a mixture of color from the full range of color we can see.
Modern-day color therapy came about when Dr. Edwin D. Babbitt penned his Principles of Light and Color. In this publication he outlined how color therapy could be used to treat a variety of maladies, include sleep difficulties.
The 1940’s were a time of experimentation with color therapy. During this time, Russian scientist S.V. Krakov experimented with chromatherapy and determined that when he separated light spectrum’s wavelengths it had an impact on the nervous system. For example, he found that red light increased blood pressure and impacted the adrenal glands. White light and blue light were found to be
relaxing. This groundbreaking information is still used today by color therapy practitioners.
How does it color therapy work? Color is a part of what makes up light, and light has many different energy waves. When light enters the retina of the eye, it touches the photoreceptor cells in the eye. The photoreceptors turn the light into electrical impulses, which signal the brain to release hormones. By controlling the release of hormones, chromatherapy can be used to treat insomnia and other sleep-related difficulties.
In a time when alternative medicine is becoming more popular, Chromatherapy is actively being used by the medical community to treat disorders such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Some types of color therapy should only be practiced by trained professionals. However, there are color therapy techniques that can be practices safely at home.
To try chromatheraphy on your own, follow these tips. Select hues to wear based on your recommended color. When eating, choose foods that are a particular color. Spend time visualizing a recommended color.
Be aware of the following potential concerns:
— Never replace traditional care with chromatherapy for severe insomnia.
— Epileptics should avoid looking directly at any type of flashing lights.
— When using colored lights, do not look directly into the light. Receive colored light therapy indirectly by looking at an object that is lit by the colored light.
— If you are on prescription medication, check the label for a light sensitivity side effect. Exposure to bright light might cause a problem.
Getting exercise during the day is an important factor in how well you sleep at night. If you are physically active during the day, you body will be able to relax and fall asleep easier. Exercise helps your body deal with daily stress and anxiety. It impacts the chemicals in your brain, and how much you exercise is directly linked to your physical and emotional health. Regular exercise will help you fall asleep and maintain a sleep state because your sleep cycles become more consistent and the transition between them becomes more seamless. Try to work exercise into your life daily to avoid sleeplessness.
When getting physical activity, plan to exercise more than 3—4 hours before bedtime. For the best sleep benefit, be physically active in the late afternoon or early evening.
Try to be physically active for at least 20—30 minutes a day, 3—4 times per week. Aerobic activities usually work best to remedy insomnia, and activities can range from an easy walk to a rigorous run. By making your heart rate go up, improving your lung capacity, and adding oxygen into your blood, your body will be in better health and you’ll be on your way to naturally correcting your sleep problem.
In addition to aerobic exercise, there are other types of physical activity you can do to fight sleeplessness. Consider yoga or Tai Chi. Yoga affects the brain and core muscles and improves blood circulation. Using yogic breathing techniques will help you relax and live with less stress. Tai Chi incorporates breathing with body movements in a slow-moving style that is perfect for individuals with joint pain or other issues that keep you from high-impact exercise.
If adding 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule is too tough, try adding small blocks of physical activity. Making small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or purposely parking further away from your destination will help you live a healthy, energetic life.
Relaxation through Meditation