Americans get 20% less sleep today than they did 100 years ago. More stress? Probably. Less physical activity? Perhaps.
In any case, some type of insomnia will affect one in three of us. And women, you’re up to twice as likely to experience sleeplessness as men.
But don’t take this news lying down (staring at the ceiling). Here are 5 tips to do your part to make every night a restful night.
Allow yourself some time to wind down each evening. Bustling around, trying to get a few more things done before you retire is counter-productive to good sleep. Even social networking before bed can stimulate the brain, making it hard to truly relax when your head hits the pillow.
Some people can sleep anywhere. Most of us can’t. Creating a sleep-friendly environment might include controlling the amount of light in your bedroom, your room temperature and the amount of noise reaching your ears. Consider black-out curtains, earplugs, turning on a fan, listening to mellow music, a bark collar for the dog and other changes that might make your sleep room a better place for real rest.
Create a Routine
Doing the same thing every night can help train your body that it’s time for sleep. Drink a glass of warm milk, brush your teeth, read for 10 minutes, then listen to relaxing music. Whatever your routine should be, stick with it for at least two weeks and see if sleep is less elusive. Note: Exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate the mind, making sleep much more difficult for some people.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good mattress and/or pillow. Before you buy a new mattress, do some research. Talk to friends, check out blogs and ask about doing a 30-day test-run to see if you like it. Nowadays you can choose from air, gel, water, and good old springs and foam. People are quite different and so are mattresses!
Valerian root has been used for over a thousand years to help people sleep. It helps relax the central nervous system, promotes feelings of calm and can help decrease anxiety or stress. And unlike some sleep aids, it does NOT leave you feeling groggy.
Hops flowers have nervine properties and promote restful sleep.
Passionflower can help relax tense muscles and soothe frayed nerves.
Lavender is the most popular essential oil for relaxation and encouraging sleep. Diffuse lavender in your bedroom or spray a mist of it onto sheets and pillows before bed.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally present in the brain. It can help restore the body’s natural sleep rhythm and may help you feel more alert and rested when you awake. Our bodies make less melatonin as we age. NOTE: don’t use melatonin during the day; not for pregnant women.
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