Virtually everybody experiences sleeping challenges at one point in their life. However, if your sleeping challenges are a regular occurrence, you could be suffering from a sleep disorder.
These sleeping challenges include difficulty in falling asleep, difficulty in staying asleep, exhibiting abnormal behaviors while you sleep, sleeping too much, or falling asleep at the wrong times.
Common sleep disorders include; sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal bruxism, bed wetting, and night terror.
Factors that could increase the likelihood of a sleep disorder include; pain, illness, medication, stress, and change of location.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with sleep disorders;
- Reduce your consumption of caffeine as it keeps you alert and impairs your natural sleep cycle.
- Avoid consuming too much water in the evenings as this action could cause you to wake up several times while asleep so that you can go urinate.
- Stop smoking cigarettes and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- You could take magnesium or calcium supplements to help prevent sleep disorders. Consult a doctor before taking any supplement.
- Strive to decrease stress and anxiety in your life. You could opt for relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation to help reduce your stress.
- Endeavor to maintain a sleep schedule. Avoid sleeping haphazardly.
Below are home remedies and natural ways to treat sleep disorders;
Chamomile herbal tea has a sedative effect which gives people a night of restful sleep. To brew the tea, steep two teaspoons of chamomile in hot water, and drink 1-2 hrs before bedtime. For added taste, you can add some cinnamon powder. Unlike other teas, chamomile does not contain caffeine.
2. Lifestyle Changes
There are a number of changes you can make to enhance your sleep. For instance, you can change your sleeping position or use thicker pillows to elevate your head. At the same time, you can move your TV, mobile phone, or computer out of your bedroom. You may also want to turn off any other noisy appliances in your bedroom.
3. Warm Milk
Milk has tryptophan amino acid which helps to induce sleep by giving a comforting feeling. When you drink warm milk, the body temperature is raised and the muscles relax. Not only that, milk has calcium which aids in melatonin production. For better sleep, add cinnamon powder in a cup of warm milk and drink a few minutes before going to bed.
4. Tart Cherry Juice
A preliminary study has revealed that tart cherry juice can reduce the severity of insomnia. It’s rich in tryptophan which works as a natural sleep aid. Tryptophan regulates melatonin production and lowers the body temperature to sync the biological clock. At the same time, due to tryptophan, the brain produces serotonin which is associated with increased sleep quality. Take two cups of tart cherry juice every day to adjust the wake-sleep cycle.
5. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt is a good source of magnesium which aids in suppressing the release of the stress hormone. When you use Epsom salt in your bathing water, it promotes the feeling of relaxation and calmness. Furthermore, Epsom salt eases irritability and soothes the nerves. To enjoy a sound sleep, dissolve 1-2 cups of the salt in your bathing water and soak in it for 30 minutes. Take the bath one hour before going to bed.
6. Lavender Oil
This essential oil lowers the blood pressure, body temperature, and calms the nervous system. Besides that, lavender oil calms the brain waves, thus, reducing the feeling of anxiety. Multiple studies have confirmed that lavender can increase sleep quality as well as make you feel refreshed in the morning.
Simply mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, and rub on your feet. Alternatively, you can add some drops, of lavender oil, in your bathtub and then soak your body for 20 minutes. You may also consider adding 3 drops, of lavender oil, on your handkerchief and place it close to your pillow.
7. Oil Massage
A massage allows your nerves to relax and, most importantly, improves blood circulation. For better sleep, massage your body with either mustard or coconut oil in a circular motion. Concentrate on the shoulders, neck, and feet. Make oil massage part of your bedtime routine.
8. Increase Magnesium Intake
Deficiency of magnesium can lead to poor body functions and chronic problems. Conversely, when you have the mineral in sufficient amount, it can stabilize your mood, reduce stress, improve metabolic health, and promote better sleep. To increase your magnesium level in your body, you should take foods like pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, almonds, nuts, lentils, fish, and beans. You can as well take supplements as advised by your doctor.
9. Valerian Root
Valerian root helps to treat a number of health problems like headaches, depression, mild tremors, and sleep disorders. Moreover, it has muscle relaxing properties which induce better sleep. To brew the tea, steep dried valerian root for 30 minutes and drink an hour before bedtime. You can also take 400mg of the root extract before going to bed.
10. Regular Exercises
Physical activity comes with numerous benefits including boosting the immune system, improving sleep quality, controlling stress and anxiety, as well as supporting cardiac health. When you do more exercise, you expend energy which allows you to sleep better. Physical activity is also one of the most effective methods for treating insomnia. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you do your exercises early in the morning to ensure the body temperature gets back to normal throughout the day.
11. Get More Melatonin
Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland located around the brain. It’s inactive during the day but when the sun sets it encourages you to sleep. However, the production of this essential hormone declines as we age making it difficult to fall asleep. If you have a sleep disorder, you should consume melatonin-rich foods such as cherries and bananas. You can also get melatonin in supplement form.
12. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is documented as one of the best herbs that can promote better sleep. Additionally, it relieves anxiety and promotes calmness. Since lack of sleep is related to depression, lemon balm also promotes the production of serotonin which helps treat depression as well as calms a person. To prepare a lemon balm infusion, crush a handful of lemon balm leaves, boil in hot water for 5 minutes, then, strain the leaves from the tea. Drink this tea 1-2 hours before bedtime.
13. Increase Carbohydrate Intake
Taking a small quantity of starchy carbohydrates before bedtime can work wonders. The science behind the process is the fact that when you eat carbohydrates, it is much easier for tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, to cross the blood-brain barrier. This carbohydrate consumption, thus, makes it easier for tryptophan to access the brain. For this home remedy, take some cereal 15-30 minutes before bed.
Bananas have large amounts of potassium, magnesium, and muscle relaxants which promote better sleep. Furthermore, bananas contain tryptophan amino acid which helps to raise serotonin hormone which, in turn, regulates one’s sleeping pattern. Just eat a raw banana a few minutes before bed or include it in your salads and smoothies.
Almonds are rich in calcium, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients help in the production of melatonin which regulates the brain activity. Simply spread almond butter on your bread and eat it together with a glass of warm milk. You can also chew roasted nuts a few hours before going to bed.
Catnip has soothing and relaxing properties that promote better sleep, especially in children. It helps to treat nervousness and insomnia. The herb is available in the form of tea or capsules. To make the tea, put 1-2 spoonfuls of catnip powder in 500ml of water, steep for 15-20 minutes and drink while still warm. If you don’t like the taste, you may want to add some honey. Drink the tea a few minutes before bed.
17. Saint John’s Wort
Saint John’s Wort is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It works by promoting the level of serotonin in the brain. You can either take it in the form of capsules or tea. To prepare the tea, add two teaspoons of the herb in a mug of hot water for 10 minutes. Once it cools down, add some lemon or honey and drink half an hour before bed.
18. Avoid Taking Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that promotes alertness. Caffeine increases adrenaline production by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals. Furthermore, most coffee varieties have a stimulating effect after 30 minutes. Just cut out the beverages that contain caffeine, like tea, chocolate, coffee, and some soft drinks, if you want to improve your sleep quality. If you have to drink coffee, do so during the day and in moderation. Lastly, it is advisable that you cut down your intake of coffee as you age.
19. Rose Oil
The relaxation and sedative effect of rose oil promotes sleep quality by producing more melatonin. You can either apply a few drops on your skin or in your bathing water. You can also use a diffuser to disperse the oil into the air. Since rose oil is non-toxic, it can be used by children and pregnant women. So, if you have sleeping problems due to stress, overwork, or aching muscles, rose oil will help you snooze better. You may also want to combine rose oil with other natural oils like orange essential oil, marjoram oil or chamomile oil.
Acupuncture is a technique commonly used in Chinese culture to promote restful sleep. It involves applying some pressure on specific points of the body to bring a feeling of relaxation. Also, acupuncture improves sleep-wake cycle by eliminating pain and calming the nervous system. Some of the areas you should work on include the big toe, wrist, inner ankle bone, among others. It is advisable you consult a trained professional if you want to go this route.
While this may sound like a joke, it does work. When you have sex, you feel less stressed due to the release of endorphins. During men’s orgasm, prolactin hormone is released which helps one feel more sleepy. Also, when a woman reaches climax, she releases oxytocin which is linked to better sleep. So, if you want to improve the quality of your sleep, you could consider having sex with your significant other.
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