Better Night's Sleep... a few good tips!
Sleep Tip #3: Avoid Late Night Stimulation
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
The causes of insomnia vary from person to person, so you
may need to experiment a little to determine what will help you
get the sleep you need. To get you started, here are a dozen tips for
getting a better night's sleep. Pick one or two to work on at a time
and see if they make a positive difference in your sleep patterns.
Sleep Tip #1 : Schedule Sleep
Your body has an internal "clock" that helps engage periods if sleep and wakefulness. If you can get on a schedule that allows
you to get to bed at roughly the same time each night and wake
up at the same time each morning, it will ease both falling asleep
and waking up. When your sleep schedule is thrown off (such as
during international travel), you can help to "reset" this biological clock by taking Melatonin Extra at bedtime to help you get
a new sleeping rhythm.
Sleep Tip #2: Get to Bed Early
In Chinese medicine, it is believed that certain meridians (or energy flows) are active at certain times of the day. According to this
theory, the gall bladder and liver meridians are active from around 11 PM to 1 AM and 1 AM to 3 AM respectively. This is the peak
time for your body to detoxify if you are asleep by 11 PM. If you
are not asleep when the gallbladder meridian becomes active, you
may get a surge of nervous energy that inhibits sleep. This will be
followed by feeling sluggish and tired the next morning.
Generally speaking, If you can get to bed by about 10:30 you will sleep more soundly and wake up more refreshed. If you regularly stay
up late and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning,
consider taking Liver Balance or Blood Stimulator to support the
health of your liver.
In the evening, avoid activities that get your adrenaline pumping. This
includes watching exciting TV or movies, video games, listening to
loud stimulating music or even reading thrilling novels. It is also not
a good idea to exercise before bedtime. Instead, pick evening activities that help you wind down, such as listening to relaxing music,
reading uplifting books or sharing a massage with your partner.
Sleep Tip #4:
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Seek to make your bedroom a place that is conducive to rest,
not work or recreation. Remove TVs, computers, cell phones and
other distractions from your sleep area and keep your bedroom
uncluttered. Most importantly. don't work or keep work materials in your sleep area. Also, keep electrical equipment, including
digital clocks at least three feet away from your bed to minimize
electromagnetic influences while you sleep.
If you have a hard time relaxing at night, try taking some nervine
herbs in the evening. A good choice is Herbal Sleep
three soporific (sleep-inducing) herbs: hops, valerian and passion
flower. Try taking avo to four capsules about one hour before bed.
Another relaxing remedy is kava kava
. If you have a lot of
muscle tension, this is a good remedy to help your muscles to
relax so you get a better night's sleep. Take one to two capsules
about one hour prior to bed, either by itself or with the Herbal
For people who tend to drink in the evening, kava kava
excellent alternative to alcohol. It has a similar relaxing effect to
alcohol, but doesn't act as a diuretic, which can make you wake
up at night needing to urinate. You also don't risk destroying your
brain cells or numbing your thought processes.
Sleep Tip #5: Don't Eat Late
It is hard for your body to fall asleep when it is digesting a heavy
meal, so try to eat dinner at least two hours and preferably four
hours before bedtime. Do not eat sugary snacks before sleeping as
this creates blood sugar problems that can wake you up at night.
Also, avoid all stimulants, including spicy foods in the evening. They
interfere with quality of sleep. It is okay to eat a small snack
of nut butter, cheese or some other high protein food before bed
if you suffer from hypoglycemia (See tip #10 below).
Sleep Tip #6: Make Your Sleep Area Dark
The natural way to fall asleep is for your body
to convert a
neurotransmitter called serotonin into melatonin. Melatonin puts
you to sleep. Your pineal gland starts converting melatonin to serotonin when it gets dark. Even a 100 watt light bulb will inhibit
this process and help contribute to keeping you awake.
Unfortunately, with the advent of electric lights, we extend
our "day" into the evening hours. This prevents us from falling
asleep naturally. Watching TV, staring at a computer screen and playing video games all
artificial light all inhibit sleep. So, make your bedroom as dark as
possible and as the time for sleep approaches, turn off the TV and
computer and get into a darkened room. You may even want to
try wearing a sleep mask.
If darkening the room doesn't work, try taking 5-HTP Power
about one hour before bedtime. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, which will increase the production of melatonin when you turn out
all the lights and make your bedroom as dark as possible.
Sleep Tip #7: Breathe Deeply
Oxygen is very important to sound sleep. Many people find
that cracking a window open to let in a little fresh air results in a
better night's sleep. Of course, this isn't going to work if you live in
an area with heavy air pollution. In that case, you may need some kind of air filtration or purification system.
If you snore at night, it a sign that you have constricted airways
that are inhibiting the amount of oxygen you are getting while you
are sleeping. So, not only does snoring contribute to insomnia in
anyone who sleeps with you, it also interferes with the quality of
your own sleep.
If you snore really loudly, you may have a problem with sleep
apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the throat closes down completely
making it impossible to breathe while sleeping. This starves your
tissues for oxygen, which can cause you to wake up after about a
minute of not breathing, shift positions and go back to sleep. The
problem is that you are not aware that you are waking up numerous
times a night starved for oxygen.
Sleep apnea doesn't just interfere with your sleep; it is dangerous.
Not only does it stress your heart and increase your risk of heart
disease, you risk dying in your sleep from oxygen starvation. If you
snore very loudly, get checked for sleep apnea. If you do have sleep
apnea, medical help may be necessary to ensure you get enough
oxygen for a sound night's sleep. To protect your heart, trying
taking one Co-Q10
and four hawthorn
capsules at bedtime.
Factors that can contribute to snoring and sleep apnea include
excess weight, swollen lymph nodes, sinus congestion or any inflammation of the mucus membranes. SnorEase
or Seasonal Defense
may help shrink swelling of inflamed mucus membranes, reduce
sinus congestion and swollen lymph nodes and otherwise help to
open respiratory passages. Food and respiratory allergies may be a
factor, so screen yourself for allergy-causing foods
. High doses of Citrus Biofalvonoids With Vitamin C
per day) can help to counteract histamine reactions if allergies are
a factor. Weight loss and colon cleansing are also helpful.
Sleep Tip #8: Quiet Your Mind
If you are one of those people who lie
awake at night unable to get your mind
to "shut-up" so you can go to sleep, here
are some suggestions for quieting your
mind for a better night's sleep. First,
before going to bed, get a pad of paper
and write down your to-do list for the
next day. This helps you "get it off your
mind" so you can relax. It may also help to have a journal that you
write in each evening, allowing you to express things on paper so
you can let go of them.
A second technique to quiet your mind is to breathe deeply as
you lie in bed and focus on relaxing your body. Starting with your
toes and working your way up to your head, tense your muscles
and then let them relax. Imagine them sinking into the bed. Focus
your mind on your breathing or mentally reciting a positive statement such as "l am relaxed" or "All is well."
If you are still having trouble getting your mind to quiet down, GABA Plus
or Passion flower
may be helpful. Take these supplements about one hour before bedtime. If you are easily distracted
by small things (such as a dripping faucet or other small noises),
try taking wo capsules of Magnesium Complex
, emptying the
contents under your tongue about one hour before bedtime. Let
the magnesium sit in your mouth for ten to fifteen seconds before
washing it down with some water.
Sleep Tip #9: Reduce Your Stress Level
Since stress is a major factor in sleep problems, reducing your
stress level during the day can help you sleep better at night. If you
are tired during the day, but have poor quality of sleep at night,
you may be suffering from adrenal exhaustion. Symptoms of tired
adrenals include fatigue, mental confusion and emotional sensitivity
during the day, followed by restless sleep with disturbing dreams.
You may also need to wake up frequently to urinate.
One of the best remedies for is Nervous Fatigue Formula
Taking four capsules of the regular Nervous Fatigue Formula or
one capsule of the concentrated formula
two to three times per
day (including at bedtime) will often have people sleeping more
soundly within three to four nights.
For more serious adrenal exhaustion, such as post-traumatic
stress disorder, Adrenal Support
may be helpful. A typical dose
is one capsule two to three times daily, including one at bedtime.
In addition, it is very important for people suffering from too
much stress to avoid sugar and caffeine as these make the problem
worse. You may need to reduce your workload, or at least make
more time for R&R (rest and relaxation).
A good therapy for people who are under a lot of stress is an
Epsom salt bath. In the evening, draw a warm bath and add two
cups of Epsom salt and 10-20 drops of your favorite relaxing essential oils. Lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang and patchouli
are good options. Light a few candles, put on some relaxing music
and turn out the lights, then soak in the warm bath for 15-20
minutes. This can really reduce nervous stress and prepare you
for a better night's sleep.
Sleep Tip #10: Balance Your Blood Sugar
If you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your
problems and unable to get back to sleep, this can be a sign of
blood sugar problems. What is happening is that your blood sugar
is dropping too low in the middle of the night and your adrenal
glands are firing off stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) to
elevate your blood sugar. Avoiding sugar, white flour products, alcohol and caffeine will help. Take two Licorice root
and two Super Algae
with breakfast and lunch to stabilize your blood Sugar.
Also eat a small protein-rich snack at bedtime, such as a couple
of tablespoons of almond butter, peanut butter or cottage cheese
or a few raw walnuts.
By theway, bed-wetting in children can often be a sign of blood
sugar problems or dehydration. If you have a child with bedl-wetting
problems, try keeping your child away from refined carbohydrates and
giving him/her licorice root
to stabilize his/her blood sugar levels. Magnesium Complex
may also be helpful for bed-wetting.
Sleep Tip #11 : Stay Hydrated
Not drinking enough water can make you feel anxious and
tense. Proper hydration
calms the brain and promotes better sleep.
Try drinking at least 1/2 ounce of pure water per pound of body
weight per day. In other words, two quarts (64 ounces) is the right
amount of water for a 128 pound person.
If you have a problem with waking up to urinate, drink more
water during the day, but not a lot of water in the evening. You
may also need to take something to strengthen your kidneys, such
or work on your adrenals and blood sugar.
Sleep Tip #12: Be Physically Active
A sedentary lifestyle will also cause problems with sleep. We
need physical activity and rest, so if you work at a desk job and
then watch TV when you get home, you may need to become
physically active in order to sleep better. Take a walk, dance,
swim, ride a bike, lift weights or otherwise engage your muscles
15-20 minutes per day to improve your sleep.