The first place to start in regard to effective and simple solutions for a sound night's rest are lifestyle choices. The next step are sleep times, supplements, and rituals.
Basic Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Basic healthy lifestyle choices have a lot to do with a good night's rest. Some of these habits include regular exercise, honest and profitable work to the individual, a healthy diet, and positively developing relationships. When one or more of these is lacking or missing, there is a possibility this could effect sleep on a long term basis.
Regular Sleep Times
Another basic and important element of being able to have a good night's sleep is having regular sleep times. Some of us may need to change shifts for our jobs or sleep times for other reasons, but having a regular sleep time is essential to getting into the healthy habit of sleeping well.
Here are a couple of supplements that I've used that have and continue to help me in my sleep:
- Chamomile Tea- This is a natural herbal tea that can be bought almost anywhere. The dollar stores in my area sell a box of this for 1 dollar.
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice- This sour tasting juice at times has been a popular breakfast side beverage. Grapefruits have a chemical that induces sleep. This I noticed years ago as I was eating out at a restaurant and unwittingly ordered grapefruit juice.
- Valerian Root- This is another well-known plant supplement that is used to help sleep. The smell is not too attractive, but it is effective for inducing sleep if taken in the right quantities and taken an hour before your sleep time.
- Lightly-Buttered Popcorn- This actually helps sleep as well. Caution must be exercised as to watch the saturated fat intake, sugar, and other dietary concerns.
- One to two glasses of wine- Wine is a strong drink and can be very effective in inducing sleep if taken in the right quantities. The recommended amount per day is one and, at the most, two glasses of wine. Drinking too much wine not only can effect your liver's health, but could also interfere with REM sleep because of the sugar content in fermented grapes. Personally, I save wine for my weekends off of work. The reason it is my preferred choice of alcoholic drinks is because of the health benefits associated with limited quantities of this drink in regard to heart health, etc. I find that after using wine, sometimes I need to follow up the next day with Valerian Root and/or some Chamomile Tea in place of wine in order to "fall back into" a regular sleep cycle.
"Rituals" for Getting to Sleep
All of us have rituals in our lives whether we would like to admit it or not. For us as people, it gives us a sense of "being on track" and possibly facilitates our time more effectively. Sleep is the same way. Our body not only responds better to regularly scheduled sleep cycles, but certain rituals help signal to our body that it's time to sleep. Here are a couple I use and have used:
- Deep stretching including some types of yoga- Deep stretching helps relax our body and is beneficial to our health. Certain stretches however, are not recommended for the long term health of our joints by some in the health field. Although most of the stretches I do help and there's only a few that are not recommended, it would help to do some research on the ones that are not recommended for your joints' health.
- Tensing and relaxing exercises like in the beginning and ending of some yoga exercises. These are exercises that tense and relax most of the muscles in your body and are followed by visual imagery that induce relaxation.
- Relaxing exercises like navel training- I've run across these exercises through various means. The U.S. navel training has some exercises that involve relaxing your face, shoulders, etc and using specific mental images to induce sleep within about two minutes no matter where you are at or what the environment is presently. These exercises need to be practiced for a couple of weeks until they become effective and our body's respond to them regularly.
- Mental Imagery to Relax the Mind Like Meditation- There are many types of meditation out there that can release pent up emotions, refocus the mind, etc.
- Physical Objects Like a Small Fan and Earplugs When Necessary- Over the years I've had many different people who were roommates or housemates in various settings. Among them there were a few who would be very loud at night for whatever reason. Of course, mentioning something to them would be helpful if they are oblivious to what they are doing. But sometimes, people have a hard time breaking habits or just care about their own agendas. In a case like this, earplugs help and turning a small fan on can act as "white noise." In the winter time I try to turn my fan toward the wall to slow down any cold air movement in my room. You may wake up with a "scratchy throat" the next morning, but usually some hot tea or coffee will remedy this.
"Disclaimer" and Cautions
Well, here we go with this...I'm not a doctor or whatever. Just someone who practices the basics of life and give suggestions. Any one of the supplements mentioned could be harmful if taken in too high of quatities. I would also make sure you know specifically what your body may have or not have and talk to your doctor if you are not sure.
Also, no one sleeps perfectly every night. If you just can't get to sleep no matter what you try and have given it a half hour to an hour, then just get up and read or whatever until you are feeling tired. When you are finally feeling tired, you can go to bed.
The first things to consider when trying to sleep are basic healthy lifestyle choices. Second there are supplements and habits that contribute to the overall health in this area of our lives.
So what areas of your overall sleep health do you do well in and what areas do you need to improve? What is your plan for growth and health? Do you have a healthy rhythm in your overall life? Are there supplements that would help your body sleep? Are there practical rituals you could employ to aid in a good night's rest? Which one of these effective and simple solutions for a sound night's rest will you employ and what is your plan?