Modern society is a sleepy one. Not because we sleep a lot, but because we are sleepy most of the time when we are supposed to be awake. So how can we get a good night’s sleep and stop being just plain dog-tired?
The lack of sleep has been shown to cost tens of billions per year in lost productivity and damage due to accidents. Most people in modern societies and business desperately need more sleep. And not just more sleep, but better quality of sleep.
It is important for your health to have a sound sleep every night. While many people take it for granted, for some, especially in mid-life, a good night’s sleep can become increasingly difficult to achieve. There are many earth-wise ways of learning to sleep well without resorting to prescription medicines.
Fifteen Steps to Bedtime Bliss
- Go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid indulging in daytime naps as they may interfere with your night-time sleep. If you have to nap, keep it less than an hour and never nap after 3 pm.
- Don’t have caffeine after lunch – including coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks and chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant so avoid for several hours before bedtime. Some people find caffeine consumed any time after 10 am is enough to prevent them from sleeping.
- Alcohol and tobacco can also disrupt sleep, so avoid them for 3 hours before bedtime. Again, you may have to abstain for longer.
- Don’t go to bed hungry, but also don’t eat a large meal within 3 hours of bedtime. You don’t want the process of digesting food to keep you awake. If this routine isn’t convenient, consider eating your main meal at lunch, and a lighter meal in the evening.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are really tired. Do something relaxing but not stimulating.
- Maintain an active and healthy lifestyle including exercise and nutrition. Regular exercise should guarantee a good night’s sleep, but try to complete your workout at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Establish a calming bedtime ritual, such as meditation or a soak in a warm bath. Add a few drops of relaxing lavender essential oil.
- Improve your sleeping environment by ensuring that your bedroom is a dark, cool, clutter-free room and that you have a comfortable bed.
Pack earplugs and eyeshades to block out unwanted noise and light when you’re travelling, especially on a plane trip.
- If your bedroom is noisy, buy a ‘white noise’ machine to block out external noise, or play New Age music very softly.
- Watch your fluid intake at night. If you do go to the toilet after bedtime, don’t turn the lights on. They can signal ‘daylight’ to the pineal gland, halting melatonin production and making it impossible to go back to sleep.
- If you are on any medication, check to see whether there are side effects that include insomnia. If there are, ask your doctor about different drugs or consider natural alternatives.
Avoid prescription sleeping drugs. They produce side effects and eventually you’ll need a higher dose to get the same effect.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping and intimacy. Don’t read, write, watch TV, listen to loud music, talk on the phone, use a computer or conduct business in bed. Set aside another time and place for planning, thinking and worrying so that you are less likely to toss and turn at night.
- Develop a positive attitude about sleep and keep a regular schedule because it keeps your inner body clock running smoothly.
- Go to Zentury for a Reiki session. According to Medical News Today “Reiki is alleged to aid relaxation, assist in the body’s natural healing processes, and develop emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is also said to induce deep relaxation, help people cope with difficulties, relieve emotional stress, and improve overall wellbeing.”
To work effectively, supplements and herbal remedies should be taken just before going to bed. Take the herbs as a tincture, made up by a herbalist or pharmacist, or make them into a tea.
- Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina)
This herb also eases migraine, period cramps and neuralgia.
- Lime Flower (Tilia x europaea)
A sedative herb, it also eases nervous tension, migraine and palpitations
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
This is a sedative herb that is also beneficial for nervous tension and neuralgia.
- Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
A sedative herb that combines well with valerian, skullcap is helpful in easing nervious tension and anxiety.
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
This herb has tranquillising properties that reduce anxiety and stress, helping people who find it hard to switch off mentally. Take it in the form of capsule or tea.
- Lie on your back and shut your eyes.
- Breath in and clench your your toes down toward the soles of your feet. Hold for a count of 10, release and exhale.
- Repeat the same ‘breath in-clench-hold-release-exhale’ sequence for every major muscle group in your body, working from your feet, to your buttocks, shoulders, and finally, to your chest and neck.
- Lastly, smile as widely as you can, hold, release and relax. Stretch and have a good night’s sleep!
Information obtained from Readers Digest 1001 Easy Ways For Earth-Wise Living and Holistic Sleep by Francis B. Buda, M.D.