Are you having enough sleep or are you just to tired of counting sheep?
Moodiness, concentration problems, lack of productivity are just a few examples of what might happen if we don´t sleep enough. These are the short-term consequences, but what about in the long-term? According to the website Healthy Sleep, from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and WGBH Educational Foundation, people who have insufficient sleep are at risk of having:
- Weight gain
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Lower life expectancy
Maybe you´ve already tried going to bed earlier, but the problem persists – you simply can´t sleep – so instead of having an eight hours´ sleep you only have six or even less…This might happen because you are feeling anxious, worried about something or your daily habits are playing a trick on you. So what can you do? Here are my 11 tips to a good night´s sleep:
1.Use lavender essential oil: study, after study, after study have shown that lavender improves sleep quality. You just need to put a few drops of this oil on your pillow at bedtime. Please make sure that the oil you buy is certified organic or from a supplier you trust and 100% pure.
2. Avoid eating before going to bed: as I mentioned in my book Back to Natural, and according to Francisco Varatojo, president of the Portuguese Macrobiotic Institute, “avoid eating two hours, or even better, three hours before [going to bed], because not doing so will make your digestion more difficult, facilitates weight increase and prevents a good night sleep.”
3. Use Epsom salts: it seems magnesium´s deficiency is common in women who don´t have a good night´s sleep. One easy way to absorb magnesium is taking an Epsom salts bath, two to three times per week, for twenty minutes. Actually, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Amazing Salts.
4. Exercise: regular exercise has a positive effect in the quality of sleep, according to this study, and you only need around 20 minutes per day.
5. Sleep in complete darkness: melatonin is a natural hormone produced by our brain´s pineal gland, it induces sleep and it needs darkness to be secreted, according to the National Sleep Foundation. When you go to sleep make sure no sunlight can enter your room and that there is no artificial indoor lighting.
6. Avoid watching tv or using your computer: these devices disturb the quality of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation, so the best would be to turn them off at least one hour before going to bed. It would also be helpful if you didn´t have them in your bedroom or any other electronic device.
7. Avoid coffee/tea: the substances present in coffee and tea – caffeine and theine, accordingly – act as stimulants, so try to drink them only in the morning.
8. Drink a tisane: chamomile and passiflora are good herbs for sleeplessness, according to the naturopath and medical herbalist Francesca Naish, in her book Natural Fertility.
9. Avoid bringing worries to bed: going to bed is to sleep. Yes, I know that sometimes we simply can´t help thinking about what went wrong during the day or what we have to do tomorrow (actually I had this terrible habit), but stress and anxiety are the only things we will get from this. Oh, I forgot, there is one more thing: we will not be able to fall asleep! My advice? Think about these issues during the day, not when you are already in bed.
10. Meditate: you will feel more calm and relaxed if you meditate before bedtime. In case you don´t know how to meditate, go to YouTube and there you will find many different videos that will guide you. You can also know how I started doing meditation and the benefits it brought into my life in my book Back to Natural.
11. Do tapping: it is another technique that will help you feel more calm and relaxed, as I explained in my post Break Free from Stress and Anxiety.
So what are you waiting for?
Natasha Moutinho, Great Girlfriend and Author of “Back to Natural”