In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week Paula offers readers the following list of Natural Strategies to Improve Sleep that have been shown to help folks get the sleep they need to maintain optimal health and wellbeing.
- Make Yourself Comfortable – A worn-out bed or pillow can impede a good night’s sleep so be sure your mattress isn’t too soft or too firm, and consider new pillows annually or as soon as they lose their shape.
- Adopt a Nurturing Bed-Time Routine – Try sipping a cup of calming ‘Chamomile Tea’ while taking a relaxing, hot bath. Add two cups of Epsom Salt to the water of your hot bath to promote muscle relaxation and flush out excess lactic acid that can contribute to muscle soreness.
- Treat Your-self to a Massage – Just one hour of massage can substantially reduce Cortisol (stress) hormones that keep us up by 30-40%, while raising Serotonin by 30-40% which supports a better night’s sleep. The effects of massage are also cumulative, meaning the more you receive massage the more it can positively effects your mind/body.
- Try Sleep-Friendly Herbs – Two of the best natural sleep aids available in most health food stores and pharmacies are Valerian and Melatonin. Taking 1-2 capsules of the sedative herb, Valerian, plus .3 mg of the sleep regulating hormone Melatonin, a half hour before bedtime, has been used effectively to improve sleep for centuries.
- Reduce Your Intake of Caffeine – Avoid coffee, and caffeine boosted energy or sports drinks, especially in the evening. Instead, try herbal teas such as Chamomile, Passionflower, Siberian Ginseng, or Hawthorne which have been known to help keep the body relaxed and balanced.
- Get Your Body Moving – Whatever you’re comfortable doing for exercise, whether it be taking a 30 minute walk, or joining a class in Aerobics, Zumba Dance or Boot-camp, – getting your body moving every day is one of the best ways to assure a better night’s sleep. Multiple studies have shown that people who are physically active during the day sleep better than those who are sedentary. So get out and exercise, daily! The more exercise your body gets, the sleepier you’ll feel come bedtime.
- Learn and Use Relaxation Techniques – Bio-feedback, Yoga, Tai Chi and many forms of meditation are helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and promoting a better night’s sleep. You can download a variety of guided meditations at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22.
Healing Hands School of Holistic Health has been serving residents through two regional campuses located in Escondido and Laguna Hills for over 24 years. With more than 80 Holistic Health courses and two Certification Programs to offer, HHSHH is considered a trail-blazer for Holistic Health education in Southern California. To date, HHSHH has prepared more than 6,500 students for successful and rewarding careers in Massage Therapy and Holistic Health. To find out more about the educational programs or financial aid available at HHSHH please visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved on January 9, 2012 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/.
- Andrew Weil, M.D.. DrWeil.com/drw/u/ART02037/sleep-aid