Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The article below is for information purposes only and should in no way be considered to be medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for advice that is specifically tailored to your needs.
Lately I've been struggling with insomnia. I enjoy going to bed early but the demands of family life keep me up later than I'd like. Then my “second wind” kicks in and I don't get tired after that. Over the past several months I've been staying awake until the wee hours of the morning trying to get some rest…
I've done some research and discovered that it's normal for people not to be able to sleep once in a while. That's called sleeplessness. Insomnia is different. It's when sleeplessness persists for months and months. According to my Natural Remedies Encyclopedia, 100 Million Americans suffer from Insomnia and they consume 600 tons of sleeping pills to avoid it. It's a far-reaching problem.
Some studies show that not sleeping enough can actually shorten your lifespan. Our bodies need rest! If you're like me and struggle with insomnia sometimes, here are a few tips to try. (Remember, these are just suggestions from a FarmLady… I'm not a doctor! But these suggestions have been helping me!)
1. Actively plan to go to bed early. Begin preparing for bedtime and winding down a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed.
2. Consider what you're drinking. Are you drinking too much water and waking up to go the bathroom? If you have a strong bladder you might consider drinking some tea that will make you drowsy (consider chamomile).
3. Watch what you eat! Avoid sugar, caffeine and other foods that might be stimulating in the hours before bedtime. In fact, avoid eating large meals before bedtime. If your stomach is still digesting it can case bad dreams and interfere with your sleep patterns.
4. Plan for comfort! Is your bed a cozy, welcoming place to be? Do you have a good mattress? Invest in some super-comfortable pajamas and bedding that you feel comfortable in.
5. Be sure there is plenty of fresh air in your bedroom.
6. Expose yourself to a healthy dose of sunshine during the day. (For example, make sure your blinds are open during the day). Believe it or not, this can help improve your sleep patterns.
7. Certain herbal supplements are considered to have properties that contribute to a good night's sleep. You should discuss this with your naturopath. Some herbs you might consider are Valerian, passionflower, lavender and chamomile. (Again, I'm not a doctor and this suggestion should not be construed to be medical advice.)
8. Ban electronics from the bedroom! This means your lap top, TV, yes… even your cell phone.
9. Do something relaxing in the hours before bed: Try curling up in bed with a good book, taking a warm bath, getting a massage…
10. Pray! Maybe the Lord has woken you up in the night to pray for something in particular. Or maybe you need to be praying before bedtime asking the Lord to bless you with a restful sleep. Or maybe both!
What do you do when you can't sleep? Please tell me in the comments so I can try it!