Sunday, September 24, 2006

Advice on Natural Sleep and Natural Sleep Products

What could be more pleasant than falling asleep naturally and waking at the appropriate time refreshed and energized? This most natural of joys is taken for granted by many of us, and longed for, more than material wealth, by others. There are, however, steps that can be taken to improve both the quantity and the quality of ones sleep without resorting to costly (and possibly harmful) pharmaceuticals.

Rituals to fall asleep by:

Create your own path to sleep

Creating a path to natural sleep, or developing a sleep ritual is part of what is recognized as "good sleep hygiene." Sleep rituals may vary greatly one from another but they all have these two intrinsic commonalities. Sleep rituals signal the senses to alert the subconscious to the fact that the time for sleep is approaching. Sleep rituals also relax the conscious mind, getting it ready to move aside for the subconscious and the sleeping world of dreams and renewal.

A sleep ritual might be as elaborate as turning off lights and lighting candles at a certain time, then taking a warm bath with soothing, sleep inducing lavender oils and listening to soothing music before going to bed. A sleep ritual could also be as simple as quietly reading for a half hour before bed. The important thing is that the ritual occur at the same time each night, day in and day out, without varying it on weekends.

Hints for having a good natural sleep

Don't try to force yourself into sleep. Engage in some quiet activity until you start to feel sleepy. This is far more productive than thrashing around in bed.

Sit quietly in a candle lit room. Listen to soothing music. Use an aromatherapy herbal pillow filled with herbs known to help induce sleep, such as hops, lavender, or chamomile.

If you expect to sleep well at night don't take naps during the day.

Drink some herbal tea or take some herbal sleep inducer about forty five minutes before sleep time.

Don't engage in strenuous exercises before bedtime. Vigorous exercise during the day is good and necessary for a good night's sleep, but it should be done long before bedtime.

For the sake of a good night's sleep avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your natural ability to fall asleep. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, cola drinks, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs. It may seem that alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it actually leads to broken sleep patterns.

For some, a light snack before bedtime may encourage a general feeling of well-being and help you fall asleep faster.

Have a warm glass of milk. This is a well known remedy. Milk contains tryptophan, which is a natural sleep inducer.

Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable Try to keep your room cool, using warm, cozy blankets on the bed. If outside noise (or a spouse's snoring) is a problem use a sound masking device like a white noise machine or Pillow Sonic. In some cases using earplugs might be a good idea.

If it is possible, wake up to sunlight, and open the drapes. If you must wake up before dawn, turn on all the lights. Light helps your biological clock reset itself each day.

See a doctor if your sleeping problem continues:

If you continue having trouble falling asleep at night over a long period of time, or if you always feel tired the next day, then you may have a sleep disorder and should see a physician. Your primary care physician may be able to help you or can recommend a sleep specialist.

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