- Eat Well and Maintain a Healthy Exercise Routine – Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise keeps our weight in check, but it also helps with sleep. Eating high carbohydrate foods floods the muscles with glucose, causing involuntary muscle movements during sleep, which disrupts rest. Exercising too close to bedtime ramps up metabolism and body temperature and can make it difficult to fall asleep. If you get hungry before bed, try snacking on a hand full of nuts. Nuts provide protein and fat, which are not only satisfying, but are slowly digested, which can provide a calm sleep, and rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps to calm the nervous system.
- Maintain a Rhythm – Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. Creating this rhythm helps regulate your body’s internal clock and may help you sleep better.
- Just Say No to Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine, and Electronics – All of these can make going to sleep difficult. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks too close to bedtime. Remove all electronics from the bedroom, including TVs,computers, and other electronic devices. Try to avoid bright light at least an hour before going to bed. Darkness will help your body begin producing melatonin, a hormone that naturally regulates sleep. To help keep your internal clock in balance, be sure to expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, which naturally tells your body to wake up.
- Keep Cool – Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot, nor too cold. Your bed and pillows should be supportive, yet comfortable. If you experience shoulder, hip, or back pain in the morning, you can be sure you did not rest as well as you could have. It may be time for new bedding.
- Wind Down – Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or taking a warm bath. Certain drinks, such as chamomile tea, may be relaxing and non-stimulating.
- Use Calming Essential Oils – Essential oils like Lavender and Bergamot are rich in linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that have well-known relaxing properties. These oils can be diffused aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment, perfect for getting a good night’s sleep. They can also be used topically and taken internally to calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and lead to a restful sleep. Try placing two to four drops of Lavender or Bergamot essential oil in a warm, herbal tea (Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.), or another favorite uncaffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before going to bed, or add two to four drops of Lavender into an empty capsule and swallow about 30 minutes before bed.
Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation: Lavender • Vetiver • Bergamot • Roman Chamomile
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