There has been a lot written about the importance of sleep. Many people do not get enough sleep or a good quality of sleep. Good sleep is essential to good physical and mental health. During sleep the body repairs itself and when you are run down due to poor sleep you are more at risk for illness.
Recent studies have shown that poor sleep quality or lack of enough sleep puts you at risk for weight gain. Lack of sufficient sleep will cause a disruption of the hormones that control hunger and appetite. The resulting daytime fatigue often discourages you from exercising and can lead to cravings for sweet and/or caffeinated foods and drink as a pick-me-up.
Excess weight in turn, increases the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
Much has been written about supplements that help insomnia.
There are several herbs such as chamomile, valerian, passion flower, hops, and lemon balm, as well as other supplements such as melatonin and phosphotydalserine.
Sometimes these help, sometimes they do not. Sometimes you have to rotate what you take and what you do.
Attention should be given to the amount of light in the bedroom as well. The darker the better. Get black out shades.
4 Home Remedies
1 – Foot Massage with Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil has a calming effect as it crosses the skin and enters the bloodstream. From there it goes to the brain and has an effect on the neurotransmitters to soothe the mind.
- Use 1 ounce of a carrier oil such as almond, coconut, jojoba or olive oil and mix with 12 drops of lavender essential oil (4 drops for children or pregnant women), in a small jar.
- Shake well
- Wash and dry your feet. Sit in a chair and draw one foot onto your lap. Using about a tablespoon of the oil, massage your feet, making small circles, especially around any tender points. Do the same with the other foot and then put on clean socks.
- Go to bed
2 – Calming Stretch
Performing a few gentle stretches before bed helps with any potential joint or muscle pains that may keep you up or wake you when you move while sleeping.
If you experience muscle cramping in your legs, it is likely that you need to supplement with magnesium at night. I like this brand and type of magnesium as it does not cause loss stools like some other types.
- Stretch your calves by standing against a wall or piece of furniture with one leg out behind you. Stretch the calf muscle of the other leg. Switch legs.
- Lay on your back and bring one knee to your chest keeping the other leg straight. Hug the knee as close to your chest as you can and hold the position for 10 seconds. Do the other leg.
- In that same position, gently bring your knee over to the side and hold for 10 seconds. Do the other leg.
- Sit up on the floor, keep your legs straight out in front of you and try to touch your toes. Get as low as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Do several times.
- Sit up on the floor, bend one knee to the side, keeping the other leg straight out in front of you and try to touch that toe. Hold for 10 seconds. Do the other side.
- Lay on your back and bring both knees to your chest as far as you can without pain and hold for 10 seconds.
- Go to bed
3 – Organize Tomorrow with a List
How often do you wake up thinking about what you have to do the next day? Thoughts about tomorrow’s schedule will often interfere with your ability to turn down your mind’s activity.
It really helps to have the next day organized with all that you want to accomplish – set out on paper. This way you’ve already thought about your tasks and know that you don’t have to think about it again until tomorrow.
If you are worried about something, this is also the time to write it down. Then say to yourself, this will wait until the morning.
Have a pen and pad handy at your bedside table for this exercise.
4 – Salt Bath
The relaxing actions of both the magnesium in the Epsom salts and the lavender oil will relax tense muscles and allow your mind to relax as well. The warm bath also raises your body temperature. When you are finished with the bath and your temperature drops, that signals your body it is time to sleep.
- 1 cup of Epsom salts and 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a large bowl. Add this mixture to a warm bath as the water is running.
- Dim the lights and lock the door.
- Ask your family not to disturb you.
- Soak for 20 – 30 minutes or until the water becomes cool.
- Go to bed.
These home remedies can be performed in just a few minutes (with the exception of the bath) every night. I personally do the stretching and the list every night. I find that when I forget to write the list, I end up thinking about everything I have to do the next day.
When I can, I do the foot massage and the bath. They really help.
What helps you sleep? Share your secrets in the comments!