Many of us long for the days when a good bedtime story or lullaby would lull us right to sleep. 7 hours is said to be the amount of quality sleep adults need each night for optimum health and the ability to perform well throughout the day, but that isn’t always easy to accomplish. Whether the cause is primarily mental or physical, most adults go through bouts of insomnia or experience ongoing issues falling – or staying – asleep. If you are finding yourself staring at the clock in the middle of the night, along with grabbing a good book or listening to soothing music, consider introducing your body to calm-inducing foods and naturally healing essential oils that can help you “sleep like a baby” again.
Rest easy with a more relaxing diet
When you are not getting enough, or a deep enough, sleep there are some obvious things to cut from your diet, especially toward the end of the day. You know that too much caffeine in coffee or sodas, sugary foods, and even a heavy meal ingested too late in the day can greatly impair your ability to wind down for the night. But there are dietary additions you can make as well as these exclusions to help you get to sleep, sleep well, and wake up feeling and looking your best. You know how Thanksgiving dinner is said to make you tired? That’s true, but it’s not only the turkey making you yawn, but also the pumpkin pie as they are both foods high in tryptophan (that helps the body make sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin). So, go ahead and enjoy that pie or a slice of pumpkin bread any night, along with a glass of another good source of tryptophan – milk, whole or soy. For a fruit treat loaded with it, snack on the tartest cherries you can find. Walnuts, bananas and a chunk of dark chocolate, all rich in magnesium, are also excellent nighttime snack choices for when you are feeling sleep-challenged.
Add herbs and natural oils to your bedtime routine
For overall health and to specifically target muscle pain and anxiety (common causes of sleep issues), herbs and essential oils have been used throughout the world for ages. For an organic way to promote sleep go “back to your roots”, creating blends proven to help induce a natural state of relaxation. Turmeric is a favorite for sleep and healing that can be added to beverages as well as food recipes. Known for it’s anti-inflammatory quality, turmeric eases pain that can hinder sleep as it aids in lowering blood sugar and easing digestion. Nutmeg, used sparingly in hot water, makes for an effective sedative, as does actually rubbing nutmeg oil on your forehead. Aside from having similar healing benefits as turmeric, the smell of the nutmeg oil itself is believed to be calming and can even work to ease painful muscles when applied directly to the affected area.
Wind down with a cup of tea
Bedtester.com explains that when it’s time to leave your hectic day behind, especially when you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s important to have a calming environment with little or no technology and other distractions, as well as a bed with proper support and comfort. Before settling in, prepare yourself a soothing cup of tea in preparation for a restful night’s sleep. Chamomile is one of the most popular, but there are herbs and oils like ginseng, kava root, saffron, rosemary, St. John’s Wart, ginkgo biloba, valerian root and fragrant lavender that all have properties known to contribute to overall wellness and promote slumber.
Like any other remedy, when opting for a natural approach to maintaining a healthy sleep pattern, your best result won’t necessarily happen overnight. There are so many organic foods, herbs and oils with sleep-promoting qualities, that if one isn’t your cup of tea, keep trying until you find the magic combination that works for you.