Are you too busy for sleep? Is much of your bedtime spent tossing and turning because you worry about what you did or did not accomplish that day? Do you awake each morning refreshed, full of vim and vigor – ready to take on a new day, or does it take several cups of coffee for you to regain consciousness in the morning?
Lack of sleep can severely compromise our immune systems, affect our alertness during the day, interfere with our sex lives, our moods, and our effectiveness; generally making us useless in our waking hours. Our bodies require rest. Our minds require both rest and dream time. Researchers have discovered that if we do not dream, we may become disoriented, distracted, and emotionally and mentally unstable. Dreaming appears to be essential to a healthy mind.
I know that we are all busy with life’s challenges, but we must take measures to get the rest our bodies and minds require. One thing you can do is schedule your sleeping routine. Also, moderate, regular exercise during the day can relieve pent up nervous energy, allowing you to relax and avoid the willies of nervous energy that may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Hints To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Avoid eating large meals right before bed and avoid caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening hours. It’s wise to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages at least two hours before bedtime, since alcohol increases insomnia and frequency of urination, which can interrupt your sleep. Actually, you should limit drinking anything two hours before bedtime to avoid interruption of sleep due to having to relieve your bladder.
Avoid daytime naps longer than 20-30 minutes.
Do you have healthy conscious? If you are plagued by guilty feelings that emerge at night, this may cause you to worry instead of relaxing into sleep. Do what you must to eliminate guilty feelings and anxiety in your life. This may require counseling to get at the root of your pain, but well worth it when you are able to feel better about yourself and your life, ultimately paying off with good long nights of sleep. Guilt and fear are common causes of insomnia.
Allow yourself unwinding time after a long day before you actually hit the sack. You might try taking a hot bath with sleep inducing herbs. Essential oils and aromatherapy can relax and calm your mind and body for a good nights sleep.
Make sure to go to bed at the same time every night. Establish a sound sleep pattern. Try to rise the same time every morning. Add enough extra sleep time until you feel rested and refreshed in the morning and throughout the day. Replenish lost sleep! You must make up for lost sleep or the accumulation of sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on your entire body and outlook on life, causing general malaise and mild depression.
Finally, if all else fails, sometimes a little pharmacological or herbal helper is just what the doctor ordered for severe cases of insomnia. Just don’t rely on drugs or herbs alone. They can break the cycle of insomnia but should never be used without the above suggestions. Never try the quick fix approach. It never lasts! If you drink a pot of coffee, are having an affair, and then try to come down by taking some sleeping pills with a glass of wine, you’re only setting yourself up for addiction and possible overdose and death.
Helpful herbs: Kava kava, chamomile, passion flower, and valerian are mild stress busters. Chamomile is mild enough for babies. Traditional midwives have given and still give babies this tea to stop hysteria and nervousness. Kava kava is a popular root derived from Polynesia that can relax some people. Just remember to not mix Kava with alcohol. Valerian is a powerful muscle relaxant. There are other natural sleep aids available, ask your holistic health care provider which would be best for you. Use any herbal or over the counter sleep aids only with the supervision of your health care professional.
Debora Myers is editor and co-founder of the women’s web site Ladyfire.com. She’s a graduate of the Self Heal School of Herbal Medicine in San Diego, California. She’s also studied extensively with Traditional American Indian healers and been actively involved in the civil rights and environmental movements. Debora is a life long student, constantly updating and educating herself concerning the holistic healing arts and sexuality. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.