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Five Habits to Help You Sleep Better Naturally
With the holiday season getting into full swing we’re all going to be a lot busier and a lot more tired than usual. During this hectic and often stressful time of year it’s easy to forget that we still need to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. A big part of this is making sure we get enough sleep.
It’s hard to fully enjoy the season when you’re so tired you can barely keep your eyes open so here are some simple, natural ways to ensure you get a good nights sleep during the holiday season and beyond:
I know, I know you’re first reaction is probably that you don’t have enough time to exercise. You’re too busy shopping and baking and visiting and doing all the other holiday rituals that are keeping you from getting to bed at a decent hour. You don’t have to run a marathon but a few minutes of some vigorous exercising such as a brisk walk, jogging, biking or jump rope will help releases the tension that your body holds during the day. Headaches, backaches, and digestive troubles can all be caused by unreleased tension. To make it more fun I use the Wii Fit, it has several short but vigorous aerobic type workouts as well as yoga and stretching.
The best time to engage in sleep-inducing exercise is in the late afternoon or early evening, not right before bed. The best time to exercise is right during that time of day when you may feel the most tired. If you go ahead and exercise, your sleep will be improved and you won’t feel as tired at that time of day in the future.
This gentler form of working the muscles can be done right before bed. Yoga, Pilates, and other stretching exercises help muscles to relax. Stretching improves circulation and helps to move toxins out of the muscles. Some stretching disciplines, such as yoga, encourage focus and relaxation as part of its practice. You will go to bed with more relaxed muscles, less muscle pain, and a more peaceful mindset.
Meditation or prayer
Before going to sleep, take some time to meditate. Choose a relaxing, positive mantra, universal truth, Bible verse, or whatever thought makes you feel relaxed and happy. Whatever religion or beliefs you practice, meditation can focus and relieve the mind and heart; it helps you unload your stresses and frustrations and brings a sense of peace. I have trouble focusing long enough to meditate so I’ve been listening to Kelly Howell‘s Healing Meditation. I love the sound of it and it really helps me relax. She has several different meditation cds so you can choose whichever one suits your needs.
A warm cup of herbal tea is a relaxation in itself, but choosing sleep-enhancing herbs makes it even more effective. Herbs to consider for a healthier sleep are:
- Valerian root
- Lemon balm
Lemon balm, catnip and chamomile are quite tasty. The other, less palatable herbs can be blended with them. Mountain Rose Herbs has an awesome selection of organic herbs. You can also take herbal supplements if you don’t like herbal teas.
Natural Sleep Aids
Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic adjustment have all been shown to improve sleep. All of these techniques help to align and relax the body. Like stretching, these practices help muscles to relax and aid the body in eliminating toxins. Acupressure is said to improve your body’s energy flow.
What helps you get a better nights sleep or are you one of the lucky ones that’s out as soon as their head hits the pillow?