Sleep is so important as part of our daily lives and until around the 1950’s a lot of us thought that having a sleepless night was normal.
During the night whilst we are asleep our brains are very active and it is this activity that is crucial to our ability to function correctly during the day.
We are still learning today how sleep affects us during daylight hours.
Around 40 million people in the U.S suffer from chronic sleep disorders and also a further 20 million will have some sporadic sleep problems according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
In total there are more than 70 different disorders and these are all categorized into the following:
1) Insomnia (lack of sleep)
2) Obstructive (disturbed sleep)
3) Narcolepsy (excessive sleep) (1)
If you are one of the people that fall into the insomnia category you will be able to use home remedies for sleep to solve the problem.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep or narcolepsy it is likely that you will need to see a doctor in order to find a solution to the physical or neurological changes that have resulted in your sleep disturbances.
Although these sleep disorders seem like problems themselves, they are symptoms of certain changes.
“If you are looking for natural home remedies for sleep disorders you need to start by assessing your bedtime routine.”
If you suffer from insomnia the best thing to do is work out a bedtime routine that works for you and stick to it.
The main thing you want to achieve is getting into a regular sleeping schedule where you wake up at the same time every day.
Sleep specialists say that the average person should have between 7-8 hours’ sleep per night and if you only get 5 hours one night, it doesn’t mean you should have 11 hours the following night!
You should simply do the best that you can during the day and then go back to your normal 7-8 sleeping pattern than night and this should help.
If you sleep in longer in the mornings this just makes you feel unsettled and dazed.
It is important to use the same agenda getting ready for bed each night also.
A lot of the experts say you should get into a routine of brushing your teeth and reading a book for 20 minutes to calm your mind and let your unconscious mind that it is ready to go to sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia consistency of an evening is very important.
Not everyone is the same and what works for some people may not work for others, therefore natural remedies might not be the key for everyone.
For example, some people may respond well to positive thoughts, and others may need more help and perseverance to achieve a natural sleep.
Once you have your routine in place, a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in your bedroom is essential.
Make sure your room is the right temperature, and you have bedding that is comfortable, decide if you prefer your windows open or closed and get yourself a white noise machine if preferred.
You may want to try removing a night light as some people find that making the room as dark as possible gives a sense of the correct night-time cycle and improves rest.
If you do shift work and need to sleep during the day, it is worth investing in a night mask to help your body to stimulate night time.
Wearing lose pajamas always helps as you don’t want to be woken up in the night by tight clothing.
Investing in a humidifier for the winter could also help if the air in your house or flat is too dry.
You will need to experiment with all these sorts of things to find out what works best for you and your sleeping pattern.
Exercise is key during the day and will improve the type of sleep you get at night. Studies show the direct link between how much we exercise and how our brain chemistry changes.
In order to not be restless at night you need to give your body enough stimulation during the day.
Another home remedies for sleep key to drifting off is being relaxed.
Meditation and visualization are other techniques that can be used to encourage relaxation.
Getting rid of your worries and tensions will help you sleep as well as breathing and relaxation techniques.
Some people find that sleeping with the window open helps air circulate and find themselves getting a better night’s sleep.
Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks before going to sleep and also exercising and watching exciting TV will not help you wind down ready for a good night’s sleep!
Again if you are feeling stressed, try deep breathing and even meditation to relax.
Doctors will encourage a well-balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables daily and researchers have discovered that what we are eating during the day and at night can affect our sleeping patterns.
Therefore change to a healthy diet and again avoid coffee towards the evenings and this should help you get a better sleep at night.
It is important to try and eat your last meal at least 4 hours before you are going to go to bed.
The reason for this is because the body requires energy in order to digest food and you want to allow enough time for the food you have eaten to be digested all the way through your body.
Your body needs to relax before sleeping, therefore if you are hungry before bed eat some low fat yogurt or cereal do not over indulge!
Melatonin is a hormone that arises naturally in the human body and it helps our bodies control our sleep/wake cycles.
This is a natural chemical technique that is sold as a dietary supplement and can be found in some foods, however this is not approved by the FDA therefore efficiency, purity and safety is not guaranteed in melatonin products.
Lavender is a flower that has essential oils known to weaken the central nervous system a bit like sedatives do.
It is common for this to be made as a tea and drunk just before bed. It is also commonly used for massages to help relax the muscles.
Chamomile is a flowering plant that is widely used mainly as a sleep aid which can be placed under a pillow at night or drunk in a tea before bed.
If you find that you are lacking certain vitamins and minerals within your body it is worth trying supplements along with a well-balanced diet to help you get a good night’s sleep.
The reason for using a naturally based multivitamin is because it will help the amount of bio-absorption rise and in turn the amount of vitamins accessible to your body.
“Lack of sleep is something that should be taken very seriously if it is a persistent problem.”
A lot of your daily tasks such as driving, your day job and relationships can all be affected if the issue is not sorted out.
If none of the home remedies for sleep above work for you, you should visit your doctor in order to find a solution to your insomnia problems.
(1) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Brain Basics, Understanding Sleep
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