Natural Health Journals

Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Poor or inconsistent sleep over a long period can severely lower your quality of life, hinder your productivity, and even make you depressed. So the fact that as many as one in ten people has at least periodic bouts of insomnia is a bad sign. Insomnia’s prevalence is partially due to the too busy, hyper-plugged-in lifestyle of many modern adults, but it also has to do with poor habits, questionable approaches to sleep, and an unwillingness to give sleep the priority it should have.

Serious insomnia sufferers can get help from a doctor, and there are some mainstream medical solutions that do work well for some people. But these are not the answers for everyone. If you value a more natural approach to health or are simply not ready to see a doctor, here are some natural ways you can deal with your insomnia on your own.

Change your intake
If you rely on nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol, it might be time to take these out of your health equation. Each of these things has been shown to affect sleep negatively, even when not consumed before bed time. Quitting can be hard, but if you are serious about sleeping better, easing these chemicals out of your life is crucial.

Be active, but not too late
Getting a good amount of exercise during the day is the best way to ensure that you are fatigued enough to sleep soundly at night. But it is important to be careful with your exercise timing. If you exercise too close to bed time, then your system may still be in an accelerated state when it is time to sleep. Make sure the last two to three hours of your day are relaxing and relatively less active.

Make bed a sleeping place
Whenever you feel certain that you are not going to be able to sleep for a while, get out of bed. Do not fall into the trap of associating your bed with anxious wakefulness. It should be a place of rest and relaxation. So when you have to, get up and do something else for a while, and return to bed when you feel the sleepiness coming on.

Try natural supplements
There are a number of natural herbs that are believed to help people who have difficulty sleeping. Everyone reacts to each of these herbs differently, though, so you might have to try several before finding one that truly helps. For best results, try one supplement for a month so that it has time to take hold, and then move on to something different if the first does not work. A few of the best sleep-inducing herbs are chamomile, kava, and valerian.

Distract yourself
Lying in bed and worrying about whether you are going to sleep is one of the worst ways to actually get to sleep. Not only does it build anxiety and tension, but it also creates a cycle of worry that can deepen and prolong your sleep difficulties. So any time you find yourself just lying in bed and thinking about sleep, distract yourself somehow. Reading a book is one of the best ways to do this.

By Marc Courtiol

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