Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Natural Approach to Sleeplessness

There are some simple things that you can try that may help with occasional sleeplessness. (Even though I am an experienced herbalist, I believe that the least intervention that helps a problem is the best, I always suggest simple solutions first, more complex remedies later.)

So here are some recommendations to help with mild or occasional insomnia:

1. It's best to establish a routine, go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time, even on week ends.

2. Make sure you do something physical every day, even if it's only taking a short walk, just don't take a brisk walk close to bed time, give yourself some time to wind down.

3. Don't eat dinner right before bed time, 2-3 hours before is better. (Also, don't go to bed feeling ravenously hungry, that will also keep you awake.)

4. Caffeine and alcohol can both disrupt sleep, don't use either too close to bed time, again 2-3 hours is a good rule of thumb.

5. Avoid bright lights when you are preparing to sleep. As the light grows dim in the evening, your body begins to secrete hormones, such as melatonin, which help you feel drowsy. Bright light disrupt this natural cycle, and can leave you feeling wide awake.

6. If noise is keeping you awake, there are sound generators available, which produce sounds from white noise (kind of like static between radio stations) to ocean surf, or falling rain, to mask the disturbing noise.

7. Don't use your bed as an office, don't work in bed, don't pay bills in bed. reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex. (An exception is reading something you find relaxing, to help you fall asleep; just don't keep the light too bright. See number 5 above.)

If your sleeplessness is persistent, see your doctor, to rule out any health problems.

The material presented in this blog is for informational use only and should in no way be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you need medical care, please consult the appropriate medical professional. And please discuss with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any herbal preparations.

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