By Jerry Del Priore
Let’s face it, a healthy lifestyle begins and ends with getting the right amount of proper beauty sleep, which, according to health experts, ranges from seven and half to eight hours a day, depending on the individual.
Sure, exercising and eating healthy are important, but not much positivity can exist for an extended period of time if you’re continuously sleep walking through your days. Eventually your body will begin to breakdown.
To that end, I have come up with five natural tips to improve the quality of your sleep, thus life—rest assured.
Melatonin is a hormone that is made in the pineal gland in the brain, which controls your sleep and wake cycles, known as the Circadian Rhythm.
Usually, your body produces more melatonin when darkness begins to fall, and remains high for most of the night, while tapering off in the early morning.
As you might have guessed, light and darkness play parts in how much melatonin your body produces. However, as you get older, your body makes less of it or none at all, leading to possible insomnia. Therefore, since food contains a small amount, some people use melatonin supplements to right their sleeping ship, especially the ones who work the graveyard shift.
Safe dosages range from 0.2 mg to 20.0 mg, and it is known to be very useful in treating sleeping problems. It’s important to note, melatonin should be taken in only its synthetic form, according to WebMD.com.
Possible side effects include mental or mood changes, itching, vivid dreaming, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), heavy headedness and lower body temperature.
Be sure to speak to your physician before beginning using melatonin. If your doctor recommends its use, here’s a good, inexpensive form of melatonin — Nature Made Soft Gel Natural Sleep Aid, Pack of 30.
I’ve written about these two minerals before, and I can’t stress enough how important they are in helping your muscles contract properly, avoiding possible nighttime, sleep-depriving muscle spasms. Case in point, when your muscles are relaxed and working right, restful sleep is that much more likely.
So, consuming foods high in both minerals and/or supplementing with a 1000:500 milligram ration (2:1) of the chelated form of Cal/Mag, respectively, are crucial.
Foods high in in magnesium include green leafy veggies, nuts and beans. Foods high in calcium are almonds, sardines with bones and low-fat, organic milk.
There are several studies that indicate the herb valerene, taken from the root of the valerian plant, may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. However, more research is needed at the moment to prove its anti-insomnia effectiveness.
It’s also believed to help with anxiety and ease menstrual and stomach cramps (a side bonus for you ladies).
It’s used as a tea and capsule (250-500mg) as well as an extract in powder and liquid form. It’s important to note that valerian can cause a few side effects, such as headaches, excitability, uneasiness, and even insomnia in some people.
My recommendation: take a smaller capsule dose at first to see how you feel, then progress from there. If you use it as a tea, don’t steep it too long.
Avoid or Lessen Caffeine Use
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Too much of it may disrupt your sleeping pattern, especially if it’s consumed at night.
You know your body better than anyone else, so you’re aware of what time is best to stop your nighttime caffeine use for a restful night’s snooze. Even better, you may want to gradually decrease your daily consumption in order to return to a normal sleeping pattern.
Chamomile tea is one of the most widely-used, traditional relaxation and upset stomach remedies in the world, known for its soothing properties and often taken before bedtime to promote relaxation.
There is no standard dose of chamomile, though studies have used between 400 to 1,600 milligrams daily in capsule form to produce desired results.
While chamomile is relatively safe, be mindful to not take it if you’re pregnant, as it may act as uterine stimulate and increase the possibility of an abortion.
Plus, if you’re allergic to daisy, ragweed, aster, chrysanthemum, or marigold plants, you should proceed with caution. And if you have a bleeding disorder or take an anti-coagulant, avoid it as it contains coumarin—an organic chemical compound found in some plants that acts as a blood thinner that may make your blood too thin.