9 Natural Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

 

When was the last time you woke up feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to start the day? Do you find yourself in bed with a busy mind, ruminating over the day or worrying about the future? Over time, burning the candle at both ends affects your health and well-being.

Studies show that women are more prone to insomnia than men (thanks, hormones) and that more than 70% of women have sleep issues. If you fall into this category, chances are you are not getting adequate rest and feel tired much of the day. Before reaching for over-the-counter sleeping pills, try making simple lifestyle adjustments and incorporating natural remedies into your routine.

Having a few late nights at work or out at events isn’t a bad thing—the problems creep in over the long haul when you’re not respecting your body’s need for rest. When you decide getting enough is non-negotiable, you will be a more effective person and better able to carry out all of your dreams and obligations.

1. Chamomile
You’ve probably had at least one cup of chamomile tea in your life. Did you know it has a reputation for effectively treating anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, and stress? Chamomile comes in two varieties—the German flower is most widely used in tea. The next time you want to ease your way into the evening, turn on the kettle, sip tea chamomile tea, and enjoy the calm. If you want to make your tea fancy, add dried lavender to help bring even more relaxation.

2. Deep Breathing
It can be challenging to shut off the mind when it’s time to go to bed. Changing your breathing pattern is the quickest and most effective way to change your thoughts. This is a very helpful practice at night when you’re brain won’t detach from the day or you’re obsessing about the future. A very simple breathing practice of extending your exhales will quickly relax the nervous system and prepare the body to rest. This practice works best when you breathe in and out through the nose and make your exhales 2 to 3 counts longer than your inhales. Try this practice by sitting up or lying down for 5 minutes before bed to unwind from the day.

3. Gentle Yoga
Often times your body is tired at night but energy is still high. A few simple stretches or yoga poses in the evening will help ground your energy from the day. One of the best poses for relaxing after a long day is Legs Up the Wall. This pose is restorative and the perfect way to end the day or relax deeply anytime you need a break. Legs Up the Wall improves digestion, relieves mild backaches, reduces headaches, and alleviates tired or cramped legs and feet. Try this for 5 to 10 minutes breathing slowly in and out through the nose and notice how relaxed you feel afterward.

4. Fish Oil
Do you ever find yourself exhausted midday reaching for a coffee or sugary pick me up? The fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish oil have been shown to help reduce norepinephrine, a stress hormone that is part of our fight or flight response. If your stress hormone levels are out of balance it can keep you from sleeping well and can cause an afternoon energy slump. High quality fish oil will give your body the fatty acids it needs to promote rest and keep your brain sharp throughout the day. Take as directed.

5. Magnesium
If you find yourself fried at the end of a long day try taking magnesium, the anti-stress mineral. It’s one of the minerals most used for relaxation and helps to promote sleep. Magnesium is required by your cells to make energy, soothe muscles, and wind down the brain at night. The RDA for magnesium is about 300 mg and most people get less than 200 mg. To make sure you are getting enough magnesium eat foods rich in this mineral such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and seaweed. When taking a magnesium supplement make sure it also contains calcium to keep your levels balanced.

6. Melatonin
A regular sleep cycle can be challenging with a full schedule and loads of responsibilities. Try waking up at the same time everyday and taking melatonin for a few weeks to get your body on track. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s natural sleep and wake cycles. Your brain produces melatonin in the pineal gland, which is in the center of the brain. Right before bedtime melatonin levels in the blood are at their highest. Melatonin supplements have been shown to improve sleep and speed recovery from jet lag and have been deemed safe for short-term use (up to 3 months). Take as directed by the manufacturer and discontinue use if it makes you feel exhausted the following day.

7. Pay Attention To Your Cycle
Most women tend to get the least amount of sleep right before their menstruation cycle. This has to do with the slight lowering of body temperature after ovulation and hormone levels falling right before menstruation. PMS and and PMDD have also been linked to sleep issues. It’s important on the days leading up to your period to keep your schedule as light as possible and make extra time for rest. Unplug from the computer and take warm baths in the evenings to help wind down from the day.

8. Valerian
Valerian is a potent root that has been used for ages to support restful sleep. It’s currently one of the most celebrated herbs for anxiety and insomnia and is a wonderful alternative to chamomile. Unlike chamomile, valerian is very bitter and is best absorbed by the body in the form of a tincture. The wonderful thing about valerian is that it is highly effective and very few people experience grogginess the day after taking it. For the greatest benefit, take valerian as directed, every night for at least one month.

9. Wake Up At The Same Time Everyday
A quick way to re-pattern your sleep cycles is to wake up each morning at the same time. This can be challenging if you are in the habit of staying up late so be prepared for some tired days in the beginning. A regular wake up time helps balance your biological clock and keeps your natural rhythm consistent. Tip: Be sure to open your curtains in the morning for a dose of natural light. This helps your body sync to your environment and gives your body energy. Try this practice for two weeks and notice what a difference it makes.

Rustic Retreat Beauty Spa | 805.553.9046

Source – theeverygirl.com

 

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10 Ways to Actually Stick to Your Healthy Eating New Year’s Resolution

So your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier. Yay! But let’s be real, changing your eating habits can be difficult. But never fear because we are determined to help you make 2016 the year you stick to it! Here are 10 easy ways to follow through with your healthy eating resolution while also having a lot of fun along the way.

#1. Choose a method of eating healthy that is enjoyable, sustainable, and works with your lifestyle.

I can’t stress this enough: The reason why so many diets fail is because they aren’t enjoyable or sustainable. When we try quick fixes like restricting, juice cleanses, or eating cabbage soup all day, we just end up feeling hungry, tired, and deprived, which leads us back to the unhealthy habits we were trying to overcome in the first place. So how do we avoid this trap? Find a method of healthy eating that is sustainable and works for your lifestyle. For some people, this means following a framework like Paleo or clean eating. For others, it might mean skipping the diet label all together and just eating real food. There is no such thing as a magical one-size-fits-all diet and different methods work for different people. Just make sure that whatever approach you take is one you will actually enjoy and be able to maintain over time.

#2. Identify why and rise up to the challenge.

As I mentioned, changing eating habits can be really hard. Get over the hurdle by identifying why you feel the need to change your eating habits. Is it to have more energy? Clearer skin? More self-confidence? Whatever your reason may be, write it down and refer back to it when you feel like giving up. Accept the fact that yes, this is going to be a challenge. Commit to it wholeheartedly and remind yourself you are worth it.

#3. Educate yourself.

When we understand the way food impacts every aspect of our lives, it becomes a lot easier to make healthy choices. Check out books like Grain Brain and Salt Sugar Fat. Documentaries like Food Matters and GMO OMGare also a great way to learn.

#4. Meal Plan.

As the old saying goes, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Meal planning is a great way to set yourself up for success. Set aside an hour or two of time every week to plan your meals, grocery shop, and do some basic food prep. When you invest time and money into this plan, you are much more likely to be successful and stick to it!

#5. Make enough at dinner so you have leftovers for lunch.

This one goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. When mapping out dinners for the week, plan to make recipes that will create leftovers for lunch the next day. This will save you time in the kitchen and help you stay on track the next day too!

#6. Get rid of the junk.

Make your environment work for you, not against you. This means getting rid of all the junk food in your house that will only tempt you and derail your good intentions. See no junk, eat no junk!

#7. Find healthy food you actually love.

Eating healthy does not mean eating salad all day. It should and can be delicious! Focus on healthy foods that you actually enjoy. Some of my favorites are avocado toast with a poached egg, brown rice tortilla pizzas, and chocolate banana ice cream.

#8. Discover healthy restaurant options.

Many eateries are starting to focus on healthy options. Hallelujah! If you love the experience of dining out, explore healthy options in your neighborhood like vegan or farm-to-table restaurants.

#9. Try batch cooking.

Part of staying on track is planning ahead for those days you know you will be ridiculously busy with no time to cook. Make up a specific food like chicken breasts or a recipe like soup at the start of the week and then divide it into portions so you have meals ready to grab-and-go when life gets busy.

#10. Get friends and family on board.

Eating healthy becomes a lot easier when you have the support of friends and family, so invite them to join you on this journey. Create a recipe share, have a crock pot party, take turns making meals for each other, and have weekly check-ins to hold each other accountable.

Are you planning on eating healthier this year? What strategies do you plan on using to help keep yourself on track? 

(via TheEveryGirl)

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