Why do we need sleep?
While you’re awake, your brain is constantly processing all the sensory stimulus it’s receiving from your environment. In other words, your brain never truly gets a break and can simply turn itself off. With that being said, adequate sleep is a necessity for the brain to work at its full capacity. Furthermore, sufficient sleep the night before will allow for a sharper focus with cognitive tasks, as well as enhancing memory skills the following day.
Additionally, receiving adequate sleep goes beyond just the mental performance of the body. Moreover, it actually is a vital link to a healthy physical well-being. For example, as stated by the National Institutes of Health, “sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Therefore, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” In addition, the old saying when you’re fighting an infection, “you need to sleep it off,” holds true in terms of your immune system getting what it needs to put up a good fight.
“According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30% to 40% of adults say they have occasional insomnia. And 10% to 15% of Americans say they have trouble sleeping all the time.” In addition, “drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.” Not to mention, “37% of 20-39 year olds report short sleep duration and 40% of 40-59 year olds.”
Common sleep advice
Now that you know how crucial sleep is to our well-being, I am going to offer some suggestions to you for a better night’s sleep. First of all, I’m going to give some sleep advice that may already be common knowledge, but I wanted to give you several options. This advice includes: take a warm bath prior to going to bed, drink a warm glass of milk, exercise earlier in the day, avoid using electronics (laptop, cell phone, etc.) while in bed, refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking close to bedtime, keep the bedroom temperature below 70 degrees, block any outside light from entering the bedroom, and utilize a white noise machine to shut out any background noise.
Improve sleep with natural supplements
Besides the above mentioned suggestions, I wanted to include a list of some natural sleep supplements that you can take in pill form which may help you combat insomnia and feel more rested in the morning:
- L-theanine is an amino acid that you can get from green tea. According to webMD, “a 2007 study showed that L-theanine reduced heart rate and immune responses to stress, as well as induces brain waves linked to relaxation.” Therefore, if you drink your nightly tea, you may be able to ‘take the edge off’ prior to going to bed.
- Magnesium has sleep enhancement qualities and many people have insufficient amounts in their system. With that being said, “research has shown that even a marginal lack of it can prevent the brain from settling down at night.” Therefore, consider a dosage of 200 milligrams/night.
- Melatonin is the natural hormone in the body that regulates sleep, but can be taken in supplemental form. As expected, things in our environment (laptops, cell phones, etc.) deceive the brain into thinking it’s still daylight and thus, alter melatonin production. Therefore, try taking 1 – 3 milligrams of the melatonin supplement 30 – 60 minutes prior to bedtime.
- Valerian root has been an age-old remedy for sleep insomnia and has proven to induce a quick drift off to sleep, as well as ‘sound’ sleep. However, it may take some time to work into the system. Therefore, be patient and stick to a regimen of 200 to 800 milligrams prior to going to bed.
As with all these supplemental forms, consult your physician first for approval.
Essential oils for better sleep
When it comes to the most effective essential oils for sleep disorders, bergamot and lavender are your best options. Both of these oils contain an abundance of the compounds, linalool and lineally acetate, which have a calming quality to them. As suggested by doTerra, “try placing 2 to 4 drops of the essential oils in a warm, herbal tea (Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.) 30 minutes before going to bed or diffuse them aromatically in the bedroom.”
Meditate and self-reflect
Even with all the above mentioned natural remedies I’ve mentioned for better sleep, sometimes it’s as easy as taking some time at the end of the day for meditation and self-reflection. In other words, we all need some time during the day to praise our accomplishments and lift ourselves up. For this reason, why not do this right before you shut down for the night? Consider taking 30 minutes before you shut your eyes to focus on deep breathing and feeling proud of everything positive from your day. With that being said, your brain will go to sleep with a smile and so won’t you! Sweet dreams.
So there you have an explanation on natural remedies for better sleep. Here’s to living your best life ever! Feel free to leave me a comment or any insight you may have on the topic of improved sleep with natural remedies.
American Sleep Association. (2017). Sleep Statistics – Research & Treatments | American Sleep Assoc. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-statistics/ [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].
Doterra.com. (2017). 6 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep | doTERRA Essential Oils | dōTERRA Essential Oils. [online] Available at: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/healthy-living-sleep-what-many-of-us-are-missing [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].
Nhlbi.nih.gov. (2017). Why Is Sleep Important? – NHLBI, NIH. [online] Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].
Shimer Bowers, E. (2014). Natural Sleep Solutions. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/natural-solutions#1 [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].