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How to Sleep Well

by Mary Beth Janssen

Next month (March) is National Sleep Awareness Month, and for good reason!

A study from the Centers for Disease Control reports that one in three adults doesn’t get enough sleep, and 35 percent of U.S. adults are not even getting the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. We are a chronically sleep-deprived nation, but a good night’s sleep is absolutely critical for good health.

Sleep insufficiency is linked to many hazardous outcomes while performing daily tasks. Those who don’t get enough sleep are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity, as well as cancer, balance issues, increased mortality and reduced quality of life and productivity. Here are some suggestions that may help you find a restful sleep.

  • Journal, read inspiring material and/or listen to melodic, relaxation music (binaural beats for sleeping are quite helpful), “white noise” selections, or guided meditations that can lull you to sleep.
  • Tone down the light at night. Resist anything online. Bright lights, especially the blue light from TVs, computers, iPhones, LED lighting will signal the pineal gland to stop producing melatonin. If you absolutely cannot break these habits, use blue light blocking technology. I love my Swannie blue light blocking glasses.
  • Practice restorative yoga at night. It deeply resets the nervous system and has been shown to be helpful for improving sleep and treating insomnia.
  • Sip a cup of chamomile tea or warm organic milk with raw, organic honey and/or special sleep-inducing herbs about an hour before bedtime.
  • Take a warm shower or bath before bed. The warmth deeply relaxes body tissues. Add calming essential oils to the bath like lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, geranium and clary sage.
  • Eat melatonin-boosters. Some nutrients involved in melatonin production include niacin, B6, magnesium and calcium. Look for foods that contain these nutrients. 
  • Massage a lavender-infused sesame or coconut oil into feet, hands and/or scalp, the areas of the body with the heaviest enervation. Pull on cotton socks/gloves if needed.

For more tips, see the Organic Wellness Expert column in our May/June issue.

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