Though sleeping pills can bring some relief initially, the dangers associated with it far outweigh it’s benefits. A holistic approach involving analyzing the state of mind, dietary habits and lifestyle can give permanent relief. The following natural remedies have helped me a lot in overcoming my insomnia and I believe will help you too in getting a deep, peaceful sleep day after day.
- Meditate for 15 minutes or so before going to bed. Majority of the sleep problems is due to the inability of our mind to be able to relax and be in the present moment. In one study conducted, the researchers found that our mental state during bedtime determined the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the blood the following morning. So those who were stressed during bedtime had high levels of cortisol compared to those with a blissful state of mind prior to sleep. So if you spend your bedtime planning and worrying about the next day, your mind dutifully obliges by staying busy throughout your sleep! Meditation is only way you can keep your mind under control. Therefore the more you meditate, the less busier your mind will be and the more restful your sleep will be. It’s that simple.
- As far as possible, go to bed by 10 p.m. According to Ayurveda and research, it is easiest to fall asleep and the quality of rest is deeper if we go to bed before 10 p.m. You must have experienced it yourself. If you take up any stimulating activity like talking to a friend or watching an interesting movie after 10 p.m you may find your sleep disappear and also unrefreshing.
- An exception to above rule, go to bed only when you feel drowsy. Going to bed before feeling sleepy can create anxiety regarding arrival of sleep, the major cause of sleeplessness. If you don’t fall asleep within half an hour of going to sleep, wake up and meditate or read a book. The same is suggested for those who find themselves awake in the middle of the night. Don’t fret or fight to get sleep. Any effort to get sleep will only make it worse. Remember that a calm, relaxed and peaceful mind is the best facilitator for a deep, restful sleep.
- Follow the time tested rule of having a king-size breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a small dinner. Having heavy meals prior to bedtime puts stress on the digestive system and prevents you from having deep sleep. A light diet rich in carbohydrates like bread or cereals is the most recommended. Unless milk products causes distress to you, the age old remedy of having a glass of milk prior to bed-time does indeed facilitates better sleep. Fatty and oily foods, sweets, ice-creams are stimulating and difficult to digest, so avoid them.
- If you find yourself worrying over the onset of sleep, listen to calm soothing music or some audio books to distract yourself. One of the main reasons Insomniacs find it hard to fall asleep is because they think too much about sleep.
- Drink lots of water. According to Chinese medicine waking up many times during the night can be due to weakness of the Jing which is stored in the kidneys. Drinking plenty of water flushes out toxins and help support the kidneys. However, minimize your intake of water after 6 pm to prevent sleep disturbance due to need for urinating.
- Massage your body with oil 1-2 times a week prior to having a bath. Oil massage is an effective way to de-stress. Apart from de-stressing and relaxing, it offers host of benefits like elimination of toxins from the body, lubricate joints, improve complexion and relieve fatigue and increase energy levels.
For most people, sesame oil will do. However, some may find it a bit hot. They can use coconut oil instead. One can even add few drops of aromatherapy oils to enhance the experience. An herbalist can specify the right blend depending on your constitution.
Warm the oil a bit. Not on direct flame! Heat little water in a wide bottom dish and then place the oil container over this water to heat the oil. Massage the oil all over your body with circular motion over flat areas like abdomen and chest and straight strokes for arms and legs. Let the oil stand for at least half and hour and then have a warm shower.
- Limit your intake on chocolates, colas or foods containing caffeine prior to bedtime. Caffeine stimulates your brain and makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. Same is the case with smoking.
- Exercise regularly. As exercising increases alertness and raises body temperature, doing it around 4 hours before time makes the body temperature fall down during sleep, facilitating faster sleep. However, exercising close to bedtime can stimulate you and disrupt your sleep patterns.
Too vigorous (to exhaustion) exercises must also be avoided. Our body recharges and repairs itself during sleep and the more vigorous and demanding your exercise, the better sleep you need for your body to recharge to its optimum. But as sleep is poor in insomniacs, their body cannot recharge itself and if the routine is continued, fatigue can result in.
Here are some more natural remedies collected from various sources that will help you sleep better:
- Ensure that the room you sleep in has adequate ventilation and is peaceful.
- Do a small prayer before retiring to reduce stress.
- Reading good, inspiring books will help you sleep better.
- Two drops of sesame/castor oil applied to foot and eyelids will make you sleepy.
- A blue colored bed lamp will calm the brain and induce peaceful sleep.
- Certain classical music ragas like Bhairavi can work wonders on hard core insomniacs.
- Soak your feet in warm water for ten minutes before retiring.
- Take deep breaths. With each breath you inhale, smile and imagine you breathe in happiness and positive energy, and with each outgoing breath imagine you are exhaling stress, worries and tension.
In addition to the above tips, I suggest taking some non-addictive, natural herbal remedy like SerenitePlus. It’ll help a lot in boosting your confidence level and your trust in the remarkable healing capacity of your body.