Restful Sleep Ideas

"A sleep full of sweet dreams, health and quiet breathing", wrote the poet John Keats.

If only it were that simple! Here are some ideas that may help you sleep:

  • Don't eat spicy, rich foods or a lot of protein at night - they 'rev' you up. Try carbohydrates like pasta and rice, they are calming foods and are much better for the evening meal
  • Certain herbs, taken as a cup of warm tea about 45 minutes before bedtime help induce a peaceful and restful sleep. Chamomile is an effective nerve relaxant as well as as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory herb. It relieves indigestion, promotes relaxation and eases menstrual cramps
  • For a stronger action, use a 50-50 blend of Chamomile and Valerian. Studies show that Chamomile and Valerian have an extremely beneficial effect on poor or irregular sleepers, particularly women, and unlike conventional drugs that are used for insomnia, like barbiturates, they don't have the side effects and they do not react with alcohol
  • Passion Flower and Linden Flower are also excellent relaxants
  • Milk sweetened with honey, is an old favourite and encourages sleep because the brain absorbs {triptofan} from the sweetened milk and converts it into a soothing chemical called serotonen
  • A warm bath before bed helps increase circulation to the skin and relax the muscles. Fill a stocking or small muslin bag with equal quantities of dried Chamomile, linden flowers and lavender and hang it from the tap so the hot water runs through it. Five to eight drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of strong Chamomile tea added to the bath water also works. Lavender is a sedative and an antidepressant and is helpful for treating anxiety and headaches caused by nervous tension
  • Half a cup of baking soda or two cups of Epsom Salts added to the bath water will soothe the nerves on the surface of the skin
  • Breathing techniques calm the body and help promote sleep. Try this exercise to bring on drowsiness; lie on your back or side, eyes closed and begin with a few very deep inhalations, filling your lungs as much as possible, then exhale fully, drawing in your abdomen to expel as much air as possible. Repeat this three times and at the end of the third exhalation hold your breath as long as you can. Repeat two or three times.
  • Learning to consciously regulate your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure through meditation or just listening to the soothing sounds of nature can really help insomnia, particularly if it is brought on by mental or emotional tension
  • To create a restful atmosphere in your bedroom, combine four drops of bergamot oil and two drops each of lavender, mandarin and ylang-ylang oil with 100ml water in a pump spray bottle and use to mist the room a few minutes before retiring
  • Gentle exercise like an evening walk helps lower blood pressure and also triggers the bodies own natural relaxation response by reducing the level of dopamine in the body - this is the enzyme that stimulates the brain
  • Alcohol interferes with the quantity and quality of your sleep - so forget the brandy night-cap

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