Stress can keep us up at night.
In fact, there are about 30 to 60 million Americans who regularly experience sleepless nights due to excess “mind chatter” and overall tension pent up in the body.
But as long as there are no physical reasons for it, most of us will be better off finding more natural ways to drift off and stay asleep than to start up with medication. But if you are taking a prescribed medicine, you can still begin to add in some natural sleep aids to get the nervous system primed for rest. And, eventually, you may not need that pill after all.
Here is a checklist of ideas to consider when approaching bedtime (And this is for you, too, Jim):
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark and TV-less
- Eat a small portion of foods with melatonin, the sleep regulator: try a dish of oatmeal with skim milk, or a banana, which contains potassium and magnesium– natural muscle relaxants
- Practice a calming breath: breathe in through the nose for 4 counts, then slowly open the mouth and exhale twice as long, for about 8 counts. Do this for 4 or more rounds.
- Try a calming yoga sequence. This video from sweatandthecity.com will give you some options:
These suggestions don’t have the instant effect that a pill has, of course. “Natural” takes time! A regularly practiced breath awareness technique or a good nightly yoga sequence is all cumulative–it will enhance your total health the more consistent you are with it.
I’d love to hear if this helps you or someone you know. Sleep is crucial!