Natural Remedies for Insomnia



By Jordan Miller;

Is it any wonder that half the world has trouble sleeping these days? The constant bombardment of electronics and EMF's has altered not only our sleeping patterns but our DNA. We are exposed to a great deal of electromagnetic energy throughout the day; it's no surprise that we find ourselves struggling to get a restful night sleep. Although it is common to have the occasional sleepless night, however, it seems many are being perpetually affected by the inability to fall asleep. Insomnia is the lack of sleep on a continual basis, and the majority of the population in the "Western" world have caught the proverbial "bug". Electromagnetic pollution is certainly one reason why many of us are losing sleep, but we can't blame everything on this. It is rather the choices we make surrounding our voluntary exposure to these fields. Some other factors that contribute to poor quality of sleep include pollution, stress, alcohol, drugs, and poor diet. We must recognize these underlying issues before we can improve our quality of sleep. Until then, we have listed below some natural remedies to help you along the way.

Diet

Diet, for the most part is the primary reason why we either suffer with disease and sickness or thrive in life. It is important to both eliminate certain foods that inhibit your ability to sleep as well as infuse the body with appropriate nutrients to help facilitate your body's needs to produce essential hormones, thereby signalling your body to prepare for bed.

  • It is very important to avoid sweets (of any kind) before bed. Although it can give you a burst of needed energy, it is usually short lived as it can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can disrupt one's sleep in the middle of the night as blood sugar levels drop. As a first step avoid all processed sugars and limit your sugar intake to the morning (fruits, honey).
  •  It is also important not to eat at least 2 hours before bed. If you are going to eat, make sure you eat foods that will promote a better sleep. For example: turkey (organically raised) brown rice, eggs, fish, and nuts. The reason why we suggest sticking to these foods at least 2 hours before bed is that they contain high amounts of tryptophan which is an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin (your sleep hormone).
  • Try to heavily reduce your consumption of coffee, especially before bed as caffeine has a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, teas, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine. 
  •  It is important to load up on magnesium rich foods as it is considered a natural sedative. More than 80% of the population of the USA are magnesium deficient; as a result, a similar percentage of people have trouble getting proper shut eye. Perhaps there is a correlation? A deficiency in magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. It has also been use for people with restless leg syndrome. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, and whole grains. 

Useful Supplements

When purchasing supplements we always have to remember to look for whole food supplements. There are many brands on the market today that are filled with a great deal of corn derivatives and harmful chemicals. Do your best, to search out a supplement which has the least fillers in it.
  • Valerian is an excellent herb to make into a tea. It is a herb that has long been used to treat insomnia. If you are going to prepare Valerian into a tea make sure to drink it at least an hour before bed; this will limit you having to get up at night to go to the bathroom. Although Valerian does not work for everyone, it does for some. When taking Valerian, ensure you are not taking it while pregnant or taking medications. Another herbal tonic you can use in a tee base is chamomile. Like Valerian, chamomile has a soothing effect on the body, thus helping your body and mind relax before bed.
  • Melatonin is a popular remedy to help people fall asleep when the sleep/wake cycle has been disturbed; such as in shift workers or people who with jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. The pineal gland in the brain makes serotonin which is then converted into melatonin at night when exposure to light decreases. Melatonin is typically taken about 30 minutes before the desired bedtime. Some experts caution that melatonin should not be used by people with depression, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, and other serious illness. Pregnant and nursing women should not use melatonin.

Other Useful Techniques

Along with a good diet and adequate supplementation, proper lighting is key for helping your body prepare for sleep. Low lighting at least 1-2 hours before bed will help facilitate in your body's production of melatonin. It is essential to also sleep in a dark room as any exposure to light will be sure to interfere with your melatonin production. A good indicator is to put your hand in front of your face; if you can still see it, then your room is exposed to too much light.

Ensure that you don't drink any liquids at least 1 hour before bed. This is will help alleviate any back and forth to the washroom during the night. This especially includes sugared and caffeinated drinks of any kind.

It is important to shut off any electronic device at least 1 hour before bed. This includes your T.V. Computer, and any hand held devices. They trick your body into believing that it is still daylight outside. Ensure that they are off and do not bring them to bed with you. Practice some deep breathing or meditative techniques to help relax your mind and body and bring the stress levels form the day down.

Last but not least, it is important to get grounded. Whether you are directly connected to the earth with your bare feet, or you are taking advantage of the many grounding products now out there, it it of utmost importance to harness the energies of the earth to re-energize your body and infuse it with lots of free electrons (read more).

All in all, by building a strong foundation of good foods, proper supplementation, and avoiding harmful exposure to artificial light as much as possible, you can ensure that overtime your sleeping pattern will improve. When in doubt, never be afraid to ask for help or look to your intuition for guidance.

Your question: What remedies or techniques do you use to help improve your sleep? (post your comments below)

Sources:
Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/home-remedies-for-insomnia
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

4 comments:

  1. What a great article on natural sleep aids. Why turn to manufactured medication that can have harmful side effects? Everyone should have a copy of this post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There's alot of topics to be covered regarding sleep and how it affects your life. You can read more in a blog that I'm subscribed to if you're interested.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Along with a good diet and adequate supplementation, proper lighting is key for helping your body prepare for sleep. Low lighting at least 1-2 hours before bed will help facilitate in your body's production of melatonin.

    ReplyDelete

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