Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Everyone knows how important sleep is to your health and well being. Who wants that feeling of sluggishness and low concentration when you have been deprived of a good night sleep. Not only does not having enough sleep cause issues to the way you feel, it also has been linked to health issues such as weakened immune system, diabetes and heart health. It is important to make sleep health a priority and there are ways you can help yourself naturally while improving your sleep quality nightly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60 million U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep. 1 out of 5 people have a problem with insomnia. This is a big problem in our society if sleep contributes to mental well being and performance. So many people are walking around half asleep because they are not getting the quality or quantity of sleep needed to function normally. However, there are ways to change your daily routines to support healthy sleeping habits.
1. Reduce Caffeine
Not getting enough sleep snowballs into that afternoon coffee which then contributes to not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. This vicious cycle stops when you break that afternoon cup of coffee. Replace with a decaf coffee, tea, water, juice, etc. Have you tried Rooibos Tea? Don’t forget to drink water all day long.
2. Turn Off Screens/Devices and Get Protective Glasses
Studies have shown that smart Phones, Tablets, Computers emit a blue light that messes with melatonin levels, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. The bus light damages the duration of sleep and even more so, the quality of sleep. Before going to sleep, even an hour or two before, shut all devices down. Also, getting a pair of blue blocking glassesto wear during the day when on a blue light emitting device helps limit the exposure to blue light which in turn makes a difference on sleep quality at night. Click here to order a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
3. Move Your Body
Studies have shown that physical activity during the day improves the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Ultimately it would be ideal to exercise 30 minutes per day at least 5 days a week. However, it would be even more beneficial to try and move the body some way everyday.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Those night caps or drinks that you consume in the evening could be a problem to your sleep quality, studies have shown. Alcohol is known to cause disruptions in sleep patterns and the production of melatonin. Melatonin plays a role in sleep quality and patterns. Alcohol has also been linked to Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed for every function of the body, including sleep. Regular levels of magnesium helps to relax the mind and body but magnesium deficiency can result in anxiety, irritability and poor sleep. Read more about Why Alcohol Disrupts Your Sleep.
5. Create a Good Sleep Environment
How can you make your bedroom a sleep friendly place? Maybe black out curtains or an eye mask? What is the temperature, ideally below 67 degrees? Does your bedroom smell nice? Maybe consider adding an essential oil diffuser? Maybe add plants to clean the air while you are sleeping. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep.
6. Hot Bath and a Cup of Tea
A few studies have shown that taking a bath at night can help the quality and duration of sleep. Lying in a bath of warm water is so relaxing. By adding epson salts and/or magnesium flakes your body will be able to absorb the magnesium that every cell needs to function. Try my Detox Bath Salt recipe and soak before bed as a night time ritual with a cup of tea. Teas like Sleepy Time, Rooibos and Chamomile are all very relaxing and great in preparing the body to get into sleep mode.
7. Magnesium Spray
Lather the skin with magnesium spray after your bath and before bed. The skin will absorb the magnesium which creates relaxation in the body and promotes a restful sleep. You can get Magnesium Spray in my store here or click here for DIY Magnesium Spray Recipe.
Melatonin is the key hormone that tells your brain when it is time to relax and get some rest. Studies have shown that taking a 2 mg supplement of melatonin before bed aids in falling asleep quickly without feeling drowsy the next day.
9. Meditation and Deep Breathing
If falling asleep is difficult for you, try focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out slowly, about 15 minutes before bed. This will calm your mind, body and soul, preparing you for a good night sleep. Studies have shown that by using relaxation techniques and changing sleeping habits can help you fall asleep faster and get a better night sleep.
10. Sleep Journal
Keep a journal of when you go to bed and when you wake up. What did you eat during the day? (Try and stay away from heavy, spicy and sugary foods and drinks especially towards the end of the day). What did you drink during the day? (Make sure you are drinking lots of water). When was your last cup of caffeine? Did you do any relaxation techniques like breathing, meditation or taking a bath with a cup of tea before bed? Did they work for you? Did you exercise today? Is your sleeping environment comfortable? This will be a great reference for you to look at as you figure out how to get yourself a good night sleep.
The quality and amount of time you spend sleeping is extremely important to your health, well being and longevity. Many people go to pharmaceutical sleeping pills to give them a quick sleeping solution. However, they do not come without side effects. Please look into the side effects before taking any sleeping pill.
I always recommend trying to go the natural route before any other path when trying to help yourself. I hope this list above gives you some tools to help you get the sleep that you deserve, in order to live a life where you are thriving not just surviving. Be the hero in your own life.
Please let me know if you have any other sleeping tools or feel free to write me with any questions and comments.
Recommended reading from Alex ‘Earthie Mama’ Du Toit:
- How to Make a Detox Bath
- The Link Between Alcohol and Magnesium Deficiency
- 7 Ingredients for Natural Cancer Prevention – Health Tonic Recipe Included!
- Nature’s Most Powerful Antibiotics (Recipe Included!)
- 10 Health Benefits of Cucumbers
- Dirt is NOT Dirty – How Playing in the Dirt Benefits the Immune System
- How to Make Kombucha
- Practical Tips for Raising Earth-Conscious Children
- Ditch the Toxic Pharmaceuticals, Make Your Own Natural Body Care Products
- Turmeric Milk Recipe: a Natural Mood Enhancer and Depression Fighter
- Treating Anxiety Naturally
- Immune Support Tonic – Delicious Natural Recipe
About the author:
Alexandra is a true Earthie Mama, helping others tune into their most natural, thriving state while bringing harmony and balance into all areas of their lives. She hosts a well-known blog, EarthieMama.com, where she writes about health and wellness, conscious parenting, green living, self sustainability and getting off the grid. Alex also has an MA in Psychology, and is a registered Yoga Instructor, environmentalist, conscious mother, green living advocate and natural birthing expert. She also sells all natural products and her ebooks through her website.