Are you counting sheep to help you sleep? Insomnia affects up to fifty percent of adults, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine . During teenage years lack of sleep starts to become a common problem. From there it seems to progress into a larger problem. A lack of sleep increases, and the quality of sleep decreases in most adults and seniors. Instead of looking at sleeping habits, this is when people tend to turn to sleeping pills. Sleep medication doesn’t always work though, and they come with side effects and risks. If you’re one of the eighty percent of pregnant women that suffer from insomnia you might be feeling a little helpless . Or you might just be one of the millions of frustrated and tired adults looking for a solution that doesn’t involve drugs. You’re not alone. There are some healthy and natural alternatives to pills.
Make it a habit
We are creatures of habit. If you practice something daily and create a routine it will become easier and natural to you. Having a sleep schedule is important. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning regulates your body’s internal clock. Creating a bedtime ritual can help your mind and body wind down and recognize that it’s time to sleep. Anything that involves bright lights and electronics can actually reverse this process by stimulating your brain. So what can you do?
Shut your phone and any other electronics off and give yourself a well-deserved foot rub/hand rub with magnesium lotion. Sometimes we are left feeling so overstimulated at the end of the day settling into a sleep is challenging. A massage can cause you to go into a deep state of relaxation, which increases serotonin. Serotonin is linked to melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. A massage will relax your mind and body and prepare you for a restful night of sleep. Magnesium also has amazing sleep benefits and has been shown to regulate that same hormone melatonin. Magnesium helps you relax by sending signals throughout your nervous system, specifically to a neurotransmitter that is responsible for calming nerve activity. Rubbing magnesium lotion on your feet at the end of the day is an easy and enjoyable ritual that may improve your sleep.
Essential oils have been used for centuries and have many benefits. Lavender, chamomile and vetiver are just a few that encourage a good night’s sleep. Essential oils enter the body in three ways. You can apply them directly to the skin, ingest them, or simply inhale them. At Good Nature we have an essential oil rollerball called Get Some Sleep, you can apply it topically to wrists, neck, or bottom of feet. Another simple but effective way to get the benefits of essential oils is to diffuse them. You can diffuse essential oils that aid in sleep next to your bed all night long. A lavender pillow spray is another great option containing only three ingredients. Make this at home by filling a four ounce bottle with fifteen drops of lavender with some water and a pinch of salt. This will not only leave your bed smelling fresh but will aid in sleep.
Herbal teas, like essential oils have also been used for many years to treat various health problems. There are numerous types of teas you can drink to get you to sleep. The most widely known and used is chamomile. Chamomile contains the antioxidant apigenin. This antioxidant binds to receptors in the brain that aid in anxiety and sleep . Lemon balm is another herb that’s been around for centuries. In Europe it is commonly used to treat digestive issues, anxiety and insomnia. Pair lemon balm with valerian root and you’ll be fast and sound asleep in no time. Some benefits that’s been reported by people using valerian root tea have been the ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep. They also have reported not waking up feeling groggy the next day.
Studies have shown depression, anxiety and insomnia may all be related. Eighty three percent of people who are diagnosed with depression also experience symptoms of insomnia . So what’s this have to do with CBD? CBD is used as an herbal therapy to treat a wide range of conditions. It has the ability to reduce anxiety and depression, resulting in improved sleep quality. CBD when taken in small doses has the opposite effect and actually stimulates alertness. People who suffer from depression may benefit from taking CBD throughout the day to reduce daytime sleepiness which will improve daytime performance. This will result in a more consistent sleep-wake cycle and better sleep during those nighttime hours. CBD also interacts with serotonin receptors, which we talked about before is related to melatonin. Serotonin, though also plays a role in stress, anxiety and depression.
So sit back, relax, and sip some tea, maybe take a warm bath, give yourself a massage, try some magnesium or CBD and diffuse some oils. Ditch the bright lights and screens. Create a ritual you can stick with every night. And rest assured there are some other safe and effective approaches to getting better sleep without medication.
 2013. CDC analysis finds low rate of prescription sleep aid use in U.S. Online. Available from http://aasm.org/cdc-analysis-finds-low-rate-of-prescription-sleep-aid-use-in-u-s/
 The Good Body. (2018) (Eye-opening) Insomnia Facts: Including causes, symptoms, treatments. Online. Available from https://www.thegoodbody.com/insomnia-facts/