Remember in kindergarten when every afternoon after you finished your peanut butter sandwich, your teacher threw down a rubber mat and declared it was nap time? Those were the days. Now, no one comes into the office after lunch and makes sure you get your rest.
In fact, most of us would love some good sleep. I know that living with young children and a husband who snores has only further complicated my sleep schedule over the past decade.
It seems I am not alone. The CDC reports that as many as 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.
Americans are so desperate for sleep, there is quite a repertoire of natural remedies that have been accumulated over the years by people who are hesitant to use sleeping pills on a regular basis.
Traditionally, lavender has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia. Inhaling lavender before bed, using lavender lotion, taking a lavender bubble bath, or applying and diffusing lavender oil are all popular homeopathic sleep aids.
This herb is native to Europe, Asia, and North America, and has traditionally been sought after for its ability to relax the nervous system and help users fall asleep faster.
Taking between 400 and 900 mg of valerian root a couple of hours before bed may be the most effective way to use it for sleeping purposes.
Peter Rabbit’s mother knew what she was doing. Chamomile tea is another popular way to get to sleep naturally. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin that is thought to be the key ingredient in chamomile that makes you sleepy.
Brew a cup 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime (I like to squeeze a little lemon and honey into the cup for some extra deliciousness) to help you unwind.
According to a Harvard publication, meditation may be a great way to remind the body when it is time to relax. The basic idea behind this theory is that stress produces cortisol, which keeps the nervous system on high alert.
Meditation essentially forces the mind and body to be still, which can stop the cortisol and allow the production of melatonin.
While it is available as a pill, liquid or oil, melatonin is a natural way to promote good sleep. The brain produces this hormone when it is time for sleep - we cannot sleep without it.
Hectic lifestyles of the 21st century do not always encourage the brain to produce this necessary chemical.
As we struggle to manage hectic schedules and spend several hours each day looking at screens, our bodies produce cortisol instead, which just makes resting even harder.
Taking 1 to 3 mg of melatonin an hour to 30 minutes before bed may be a great way to remind the body when it is time to sleep and restore natural sleep rhythms.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has risen to fame recently as marajuana’s well-behaved cousin. Among its many positive effects, CBD oil can act as a natural sedative. Experts still aren’t completely sure about the best dosage, but safe daily doses may be anywhere between 25 and 175 mg.
CBD does not have the same components as marajuana that make you high, but they can help you relax naturally.
Poppy is another natural sedative with a wild cousin - the opium poppy - but the California poppy can help increase GABA levels and promote good relaxation which, in turn, promotes good sleep.
While it might not be best for long-term use, occasionally taking 600 mg of California poppy extract is considered safe.
As a 2-Aminoacetic Acid and a neurotransmitter, research indicates that glycine can naturally promote serotonin - the “feel good hormone” - which paves the way for melatonin.
As a neurotransmitter, glycine has the ability to quiet the brain and help the body relax. It can also naturally lower body temperatures, which is a natural step in the body’s sleep process.
White noise softly playing in the background during sleep can help drown out more disturbing sounds in the house or environment.
Remember earlier when I mentioned snoring husbands? Noise machines can help create a more peaceful environment in shared households where things may not quiet down on their own.
I have mentioned serotonin, melatonin, and the nervous system quite a few times so far, and for good reason - all are essential components of good sleep.
Weighted blankets are great facilitators in calming the nervous system, producing serotonin, and melatonin. Using the science of deep touch pressure, weighted blankets place firm, yet gentle pressure all over the body’s deep touch pressure points, which soothes the central nervous system.
This sense of calm signals the body to produce the “feel good hormone” serotonin,and then melatonin which puts you to sleep.