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Home Remedies > Home Remedies > Improving Your Sleep
Improving Your Sleep
Natural Cures - Home Remedy
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 10:58

Woman Sleeping on Bed.

 
 
 

How to get a Better Night’s Sleep

Do you ever find it hard to fall asleep at night? Your other half is in bed by 9 at the latest and you’re wide eyed and bushy tailed until the wee hours of the morning.

Have you tried to go to bed early when you’re not tired? Do you end up tossing, turning, and watching the clock until there’s nothing to do but get up?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the CDC in 2016, “more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis”.

The Sleep Research Society and The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend that 18 to 60 year old adults get at least 7 hours sleep each night for a healthy lifestyle.

Getting less than seven hours of sleep can cause many issues, such as:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Lowered sex drive
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Mental distress

Home Remedies for a Better Night’s Sleep

If you find it hard to get a good night’s rest and you’re not ready to see your doctor there are lifestyle changes that can be made.

Can Your Diet help you Sleep Better?

Yes, the foods you eat can make every bit of difference.

There are some foods that can help you get a better night’s sleep, but be aware of when you’re eating and how much you’re eating.

For instance, don’t eat a large meal too close to the time you go to bed as this can cause acid reflux, sleeplessness, and possibly lead to weight gain. Also try to avoid any foods that might trigger heartburn or indigestion, such as spicy foods or high fat foods.

If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, eat your dinner about three hours before bedtime.

Protein/L-Tryptophan/Vitamin B6

Consider foods rich in protein which are high in an amino acid called tryptophan. Most everyone is familiar with the post Thanksgiving Day meal and the drowsiness which can be induced by eating large amounts of turkey.

Vitamin B6 foods, among other things, help produce and regulate melatonin which controls the sleep/wake cycles in your body.

Meal options could consist from some of the following foods:

  • Lean Ground Beef (grass fed if possible)
  • Wild caught salmon, tuna or halibut
  • Skinless chicken or turkey breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Potato
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Garlic

If hunger pains keep you up, a light snack shortly before heading to bed could consist of a banana, a small handful of nuts like almonds, homemade kale chips or pop some plain popcorn (no butter or salt) on the stove or an air popper.

You can also consult your doctor about purchasing L-Tryptophan supplements and talk about the dosage that is right for you.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a very important mineral. It has been stated that up to 60% of the population is at risk of having a magnesium deficiency.  One of magnesium's most important functions is in relaxing your muscles.

It can also help reduce your blood pressure and act as an anti-inflammatory, all of which will help treat insomnia.  You can take a magnesium supplement before bedtime or include high magnesium foods to ensure you have sufficient levels in your diet.

Magnesium is naturally high in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and many other whole foods.

Drink a Warm Cup of Milk

We’ve all heard if you’re having trouble sleeping, have a cup of warm milk, just like Mom gave you when you were young and had trouble getting to sleep.  

While milk does contain small amounts of tryptophan and melatonin, there is not enough of either of these in a glass of milk to actually help you sleep.

There is no real evidence that drinking a cup of warm milk before bedtime can help you sleep. However, it can, bring back good memories of Mom and the comfort she gave you, therefore helping relax and soothe your mind aiding you to fall asleep.

Have a Bedtime Routine

Establish a calming bedtime routine or ritual every night to help your overall sleep pattern.

Make a plan to go to bed at a set time each night. If your goal bedtime and current bedtime are far apart, try going to bed fifteen minutes earlier each night.

To set your body on the path to sleep, develop a pattern of relaxing tasks prior to going to bed; read a book, listen to quiet music, take a warm bath or have a cup of tea. Keep stressful tasks like bill paying, discussing work issues and watching the news for another time.

If you find you are not sleepy and your mind is filled with your to-do list, keep a notebook next to the bed. Write down anything that is bothering you or tasks you need to do the next day and let them go. You can check the notebook in the morning.

What can Interfere with the Quality of Your Sleep

Now that we know what we can do to help get a better night’s sleep, what are some of the things we can avoid?

  • Turn off the television, don’t get on the computer or use your mobile devices at least 30 minutes before bed as this can keep your mind engaged making it hard to relax.  
  • Some people like an alcoholic drink before bed to relax, but avoid drinking too much as it can disrupt your natural sleep pattern.  
  • Caffeine is one thing many people remember to avoid, but don’t forget caffeine is not just in coffee.  Caffeine is in many teas, like black tea; it is also in many sodas and can be found in some chocolate.  So, avoid all forms of caffeine later in the day.
  • Limit naps to 10-30 minutes in the afternoon and try to avoid napping after coming home from work.
  • Plan your exercise earlier in the evening, if it’s too close to bedtime it can disrupt the quality of your sleep.

Turn off the Blue Light on Your Electronic Devices

It’s very common that many of us are on our devices reading a book, checking Facebook, surfing the web or watching a movie until the time we go to bed. Is this keeping you from getting to bed at a decent time and getting some good sleep? It’s very possible.

Looking at your device with blue light at night can affect the quality and quantity of sleep. Exposing yourself to this light from your phone or tablet is tricking your brain and making it think it’s still daytime. Therefore, the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us get ready to sleep, is being suppressed.

So, what can you do? On many devices, there is a new feature where you can turn on a night mode setting. This setting will reduce the brightness of the blue light and replace it with a warmer color that can make it easier for you to get drowsy and fall asleep as you won’t be disrupting the body’s natural ability to produce melatonin.

If you don’t have this setting on your phone, look to see if there is an app you can download to filter out the blue light.

By making some good choices, you can sleep well each night and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle your day.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 April 2017 12:45
 
 

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