I have heard of more and more people suffering from insomnia this year. Sleep is our life force. Sleep rejuvenates us and replenishes our cells during the night. Adequate sleep increases our immune system. Sleep helps us to handle hard situations in life. Who doesn’t need more sleep?
While everyone’s sleep needs differ, obtaining enough slumber helps us to function at a higher level than those who are lacking. You never know what the day may bring you, so aspire for true health and wellness. As we have learned in 2020, nothing is too crazy or too unusual anymore.
Knowing we should have adequate sleep each night and actually getting enough sleep, are two different things that may collide with each other. Some people haven’t slept well in years and 2020 is no exception. There are hundreds of reasons why people do not sleep well. Over 70 million Americans have problems getting enough sleep. Let’s explore a few and discuss natural remedies for this very common problem.
“Throughout the night, your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure rise and fall, a process that may be important for cardiovascular health. Your body releases hormones during sleep that help repair cells and control the body’s use of energy.”NIH: News In Health
My mind worries and runs through all that I have to do.
This is a very common reason why people can’t fall asleep or have a hard time staying asleep. The days never seem long enough to accomplish everything that is on that To-Do list! I find that dealing with this issue directly is the best way to put your mind at ease.
- At the end of your day (or from your bed) make a bulleted list of items that need to be accomplished the next day or in the upcoming week. Be as detailed as possible to satisfy your mind’s urging to complete the task. Think of it as delegating. When you create the list, it tricks your mind into believing you have a plan for accomplishing these projects.
- If you are up worrying about your kids, aging parents, job security, and paying the bills, make a list. Write down every worry you have and set the paper down.
- The next day, take your list(s) and give them your full time and attention. Start accomplishing tasks and making plans for your worries.
My dogs wake me.
You may not think there is anything to be done about this one. You love your animals and they are worth it, just like babies are worth it. But dogs do not grow up to potty train as children do, so let’s come up with some solutions!
- If your dog wakes you to jump into your bed and that’s something you don’t desire, consider a nice dog bed for your pup. Place their special bed in a room that is far from your room and close your door at night.
- Consider a baby gate in the kitchen to keep your dog contained during the night (with a soft bed of their own, of course).
- If you have a small dog, install a doggie door to allow your dog the freedom to go outside at night to do their business. As long as you have a secure fence and wouldn’t worry about them escaping! Otherwise, add “install fence” to your To-Do list.
- Sleep with earplugs and a sound machine on if the cute little sounds of your dog wake you often and you can’t easily get back to sleep.
I just lay in bed for hours, unable to get comfortable.
It may be time to invest in a new mattress or a memory-foam topper. I love my memory-foam topper so much that I find it hard to sleep away from home now.
- Consider a firmer or softer mattress.
- Perhaps order one of the new memory foam mattresses.
- Invest in a new memory-foam topper to add to your existing bed.
I get hungry late at night.
This is very common. Especially if we watch shows at night, the urge to snack is real! Eating dinner early is great for you, allowing your body time to properly digest before you lay down at night. So, when you eat late-night snacks, your body may get a burst of energy, prohibiting sleep. Digestive upset could also keep you awake.
- Drink tea to help your digestion if you do eat late. Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut contains soothing herbs and flowers that will rebalance your digestive tract.
- Eat light such as a handful of nuts, grapefruit juice, or a piece of fruit. Or just have water and lose yourself in a good book or a movie. You really can make it until morning.
I exercise at night.
In the evening, after the chores are done and family members are in bed, could be your only time to exercise. Whether you go to the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood, or dance to a fitness class online, the adrenaline boost may keep you up late.
- When exercising at night, follow it up with soothing yoga or meditation.
- After exercise brew a cup of Meditative State of Mind, a blend that is tasty and soothing, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
- If you feel tired during the day or after work and want to nap, consider dancing or walking instead. The energy burst from exercise can perk you up even more than a nap would. When you exercise earlier in the day, you are more likely to keep to a decent bedtime.
Social media gets me upset and feeling anxious.
The solution seems obvious: Don’t look at social media after a certain time each night. Shutting devices down 1- 2 hours before bedtime is the perfect time to allow our minds to become quiet. Staring at the screen will energize us, even if it’s relaxing content. These days, you may see many disturbing images and stories online that do the opposite of allowing you to become calm and sleepy. I often wish I had someone else monitor parental controls on my phone which allow for shutting down all websites at a certain time. But I’m the parent. So, it’s up to me to exercise some self-control.
- Use the Bedtime function on your smartphone to remind you to get ready for bed at a certain time each night. You can set this to 1-2 hours before you wish to be asleep. Let this reminder prompt you to turn your phone off or silence for the night. Place it farther away from you on the charger and do something relaxing.
- Take a hot bath, read a book, light a candle and say what you are thankful for, and/or practice relaxing slow yoga (without your phone)!
Sleep apnea can be a serious condition if not caught early and dealt with. There are various levels of sleep apnea, which affect breathing. It’s defined as little to no breathing for about 10 seconds at a time and can leave you tired during the day. Get evaluated by your Doctor or a Sleep Clinic to find the right treatment for you.
- For mild apnea, losing weight and sleeping on your side can be effective remedies.
- For more severe apnea, wearing a CPAP machine at night, wearing a mouth guard, or having surgery is warranted.
Take care of your sleep needs, or this (above) could be you!
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Writer and Editor in Gainesville, FL
Owner of Walden Writes For Women