How To Sleep and Rest Better
Sleep can become a problem in today’s high paced, stressed-out world.
It’s World Sleep Day, and so I’m addressing a vital part of our lives and our well-being.
I’ve heard more and more people of all ages tell me how they can’t get to sleep, and that they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
In addition to this, as we get older, we don’t produce as much melatonin, which is what helps us sleep. If we don’t have enough melatonin, our body will pull it from our serotonin reserve in order to make it. You can buy melatonin as a supplement at the store. It comes in different strengths (one to three milligrams).
Dr. Gary Massad has researched melatonin and sleep problems in depth. He told me that the studies show that if you take half a milligram of melatonin around three in the afternoon and then another half gram again about an hour before bedtime, it will work most effectively.
If a melatonin supplement is taken, then it saves the store of serotonin, which affects our mood. If you aren’t draining it, you will have more serotonin to help with positive moods. Melatonin works much better with ample vitamin B in your system. If you are concerned about vitamin B—if you are a vegan or vegetarian—take a good whole-food vitamin B supplement.
Some think that a vitamin B spray under the tongue is the best type of supplement source, because it is absorbed better and faster. Other hormone imbalances can also disrupt our sleep patterns, so have your doctor check you for any hormone imbalance or a vitamin deficiency.
I recommend only using a vitamin from a whole food source. I do not recommend ever taking synthetic vitamins.
You might also listen to recorded sounds of rain or ocean waves to help with sleep. They can relax your mind. Experiment to find out what works best for you. In fact, what works for you might change from time to time.
What Can Help You Sleep?
Eat a light, comforting early supper.
Exercise and breathe deeply.
Make the bedroom a place of peace and tranquility, with as little radiation, annoying noise, and light as possible.
Write down your list of things you must do tomorrow. This will get all those thoughts out of your brain about the next day.
Think calming thoughts that are positive, uplifting, and filled with gratitude and thankfulness for 20 minutes right before bedtime.
Write down five things that you are grateful for, or five miracles that happened to you or your child today, or five things that you want to happen tomorrow. Focus on the most positive things you can. (I found this was a perfect time for me to put these in my children’s baby books for them for the future, so they read about what they were doing as they grew up. First words, steps, discoveries, accomplishments, food favorites, people they met, funny events, and more.)
Get your hormones, adrenals, and vitamin levels checked for deficiency or see if a supplement like melatonin helps.
Read a good book, with a positive message.
Try a sleep CD to help relax the mind and body.
If your mattress is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Falling asleep and waking up with well-rested starts with a quality mattress.
All of these things will contribute to being better able to relax later and rest with peace for a healing sleep.
Food and Sleep Patterns
When you rest is when your body heals itself. I suggest you don’t eat anything about three hours before bed. If your body has to digest and process food, then it’s working. Allow it to rest and restore overnight, it needs to be free of chores and responsibilities. So give your body a break and have some soup for dinner or a light vegetarian meal. It would help to make your morning and lunch meal the main meals of the day.
If digestion is an issue, lie down on your left side for about 20 minutes.
According to Ayurveda healing tradition, when we sleep on the left side our lymphatic system drains more efficiently, it makes our heart beat easier, supports the spleen function, our bile flows easier and because of gravity, it encourages the food to move more effortlessly from the small intestine to the large intestine. When you lie on the left side, the stomach and pancreas hang naturally, allowing for optimal and efficient digestion.
Good advice comes from an old Ayurvedic remedy. If your body is acidic, try drinking a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water to neutralize the acid. I add a pinch of unrefined, mineral rich sea salt to this as well. What an easy, inexpensive solution! Drink healthy, hydrating fluids during the day, but don’t drink too much right before bed. Then you won’t have a need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Drinking herbal nighttime teas can also help promote rest and sleep.
Relaxing Bath To Help With Sleep
Consider taking an evening bath to relax and calm yourself before bedtime. Fill up a warm or hot bath and soak for ten minutes or more. I like to put mineral salts (Epsom salts or sea salt) in my bath. I also add organic apple cider vinegar to aid in adjusting my PH balance in my body. Then right before I step into the tub, I add a few drops of one of my favorite essential oils. I add it last so it won’t evaporate before I can get in and enjoy the aroma. For nighttime and relaxation, my favorite is lavender oil.
My formula for my bath water is 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup Epsom salts, 1⁄4 cup of organic apple cider vinegar, and 5–10 drops of essential oil.
I have a water purifier on my showerhead and just fill my bath through my shower head. I don’t like to have chlorine and fluoride in my shower and bath water because our skin absorbs things so quickly and easily. (That’s why so many medicines are on patches.) Both chlorine and fluoride are carcinogens.
Did you know that chlorine was the first chemical developed to kill in warfare? That’s why I avoid it whenever I can. The purifier also removes fluoride and other toxins.
Peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus oils invigorate me, so I use those in the morning.If you can’t take a bath, a good foot soak can be beneficial and relaxing as well.
When finishing a bath, make the final rinse a cool rinse to lock in the moisture to shrink the pores. After your shower or footbath, dry off and put on a soothing body lotion or cream to seal in the moisture. This helps avoid itchy, dry skin during the night.
If you’re like me, you sleep better in comfortable clothing and sheets, so you might splurge on the quality of your bed linens and night clothes. It makes me feel better and I look forward to putting them on and getting into bed. I feel I’m pampering myself.
Air Purifier and Humidifier
I have an air decontamination (purifier) machine, which purifies the air in my home and in my bedroom. This machine cleans my air of mold, virus, fungus, and bacteria from the hard and soft surfaces as well as in the air. I also like the sound my portable machine makes, because it drowns out the sound of the outside world. There is an induct system that also works on the air conditioning system that makes no noise, if you prefer that. This air decontamination machine also makes the oxygen in my environment more bio available and easier to breathe. It is completely chemical free and can remove chemical contaminants from the environment safely and efficiently. I sleep so much more soundly, now that I am using this. This is an excellent machine for anyone who wants a healthier indoor environment or who has any kind of breathing problem. ( Contact me if you would like me to send you information on this. Nancy @ nancyaddison.com)
There are also humidifiers for winter when the heat can dry out the air. This can help with anyone who has trouble with nosebleeds in the winter. The inside of the nose gets too dry and can crack and cause bleeding. A cotton swab dipped in olive oil or coconut oil and rubbed inside the nostrils a few times a day will keep them moist and less likely to dry out and crack. Doing this helped my family, especially when we were in high-altitude places in the winter.
So, happy sleep day and I wish you a restful nights sleep!
By Nancy Addison CHC, AADP