Natural Ways To Improve Quality Of Sleep
Over the past few decades, there has been a trend in the United States healthcare system. When people have a problem, they go to the doctor, tell them their symptoms, and the doctor prescribes a pill or pills. The patient then takes the medication and expects that to be the simple fix they need to feel better. Done and done. Or is it?
Healthcare shouldn’t be that way. In reality, there are no quick fixes that make everything better with minimal work. While medication can be a part of a patient’s recovery, it shouldn’t be the only thing. Overcoming illnesses, conditions, and injuries require symptom management and lifestyle changes that enable the person to get better and stay better.
Insomnia is the perfect condition to use when illustrating this point. For years, people have taken medications to try to overcome their sleep problems, but recent research shows us that sleeping pills are no quick fix. In fact, the quality of sleep a person has after taking medication doesn’t have the same restorative properties of natural sleep. While these pills can easily knock you out, you’ll still wake up feeling all the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Instead of relying on medication, those suffering from insomnia or sleep loss should work on training their brains and bodies to fall asleep at night with healthy habits and a steady bedtime routine.
Reduce Stress and Relax
The overall goal of your bedtime routine should be to relax and alleviate stressors that would otherwise keep you up when it’s time to sleep. What relaxes you is personal, but there are a few common practices that we can all benefit from. For instance, once you’re home, avoid checking your work e-mail. Just because a colleague is working after hours and sending questions or information doesn’t mean you have to behave like you’re on the clock. Once you are home, focus on your family and wellness. Anything work-related can wait until you’re back in the office the next morning.
Meditating at night is another great way to release feelings of anxiety before bed. Mindfulness meditation is proven to help people overcome insomnia and sleep deprivation. Focusing on your breathing and being in the present activates the brain’s relaxation response, which can ease stress-related ailments, including depression, pain, high blood pressure, and insomnia. While you can, in theory, practice anywhere, people new to meditation often find it’s easier if they have a dedicated space where they won’t feel distracted. Designate a meditation room or even a corner in your home where you can sit with yourself and unwind after a hectic day.
Natural Sleep Aids
We all need a little help falling asleep sometimes. Thankfully, there are natural sleep aids that can help you feel drowsy before bed without a prescription. Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally. Your melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening and fall in the morning as the light outside respectively dims and rises. These levels are easily disrupted by things like travel, the changing seasons, and even the blue light emitted by electronics. Taking a melatonin supplement when you’re feeling restless can balance hormones and make it easier to fall asleep.
Other natural sleep aids include plants like Valerian root, passionflower, and lavender. A great way to incorporate these herbs into your sleep routine is by drinking a cup of herbal tea formulated for sleep. Other supplements you can try include magnesium, glycine, tryptophan, ginkgo biloba, and L-theanine. Talk to your doctor before taking a natural sleep aid to make sure it won’t negatively interact with any medications you are currently taking.
If you suffer from sleep loss, you may be tempted to seek out a quick fix with medication. However, sleeping pills don’t do much more than knock you out. The sleep you get on these medications isn’t restorative enough for the body. Rather than popping a pill, establish a steady bedtime routine that signals to your brain and body that it’s time to go to sleep. Avoid stress and relieve anxiety with hobbies like meditation. If your bedtime routine isn’t quite enough, try a natural sleep aid after talking with your doctor.
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