Overcoming insomnia has been one of the most significant accomplishments in my life (along with having twins!). My postpartum period of raising these little ones upset my sleep cycle for over twenty-four long months. Once my children began to sleep, I was still suffering from nightly insomnia. The most significant shift for me happened when I added adaptogens into my diet; Adaptogens are a group of herbs that help you adapt to stress. These herbs plus my Daily Ayurvedic Routine, helped shift me back into sleeping through the night so I could care for my family.
Try these 7 Steps to help you sleep through the night.
"Sleep is the best medicine." Dalai Lama
1. Your day reflects your night.
- Wake up with the sun! Get the best exposure to sunlight in the morning ~ 9:00 am to reset your hormone levels. Following these circadian rythms, a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain will help your body reset and make sleeping easier.
- Try to be asleep by 10:00 pm to get your best zzzzs.
- Add meditation @ 3:00 pm (or whenever you can fit it in). Just 3 minutes every day can help ease stress and anxieties. Then, when you awake at night, your body knows how to relax more easily. Try Aurura, a free app for meditation.
- Start a worry journal. Journal of the day, right before bed to get all the worries out.
2. Choose Good Foods
- Avoid stimulants and caffeine after 12 pm. If insomnia is a problem; avoid them all together. While alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep and have you awake @ 3 am and unable to fall asleep.
- If I can't fall asleep from too much caffeine, I take Homeopathy “coffea cruda 30c”, wait 20 minutes and take another dose. Homeopathy can provide excellent comfort when the correct remedy is chosen for your body. (Please see a professional homeopathic doctor for the best solution for your insomnia.)
- If I wake @ 3:00 am from too much alcohol or sweets, I take nux vomica 30c homeopathy; wait 20 minutes and take another dose to help me sleep.
- To avoid heartburn, avoid heavy, rich, fatty foods before bedtime. You can also take a tablet ofDGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice) before bedtime to soothe any agitation.
- Add a healthy carbohydrate like sweet potatoes, butternut squash or quinoa about five hours before bed to improve sleep. Allow three hours before bed for digestion. If you have cravings late at night, try a cup of caffeine free tea with 1 tbs. of coconut oil to keep you full.
Try exercising every day. Just a simple walk and getting outdoors can improve your quality of sleep. American Heart Association recommends: “At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for a total of 150.”
4. Embrace Magnesium
- Adding a magnesium supplement (400 mg) before bed can help induce relaxation, decrease leg cramps and help with constipation.
- Take an Epsom Salt Bath. Fill the tub up and add 2 cups of Epsom Salts for Adults. I also add 10 drops of Lavender essential oil in milk, stir and add to the tub for extra relaxation.
5. Enhance your Sleep Environment
- Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and relaxed. The bedroom should be between 60-67 degrees for optimal sleep.
- If you find you are tired and wired @ 9:00 pm, it is important you see a way to relax your body. Relaxation includes; Epsom salt baths, massages with a soothing oil, herbal teas, meditation and adding an adaptogen to your diet.
- Turn off all bright lights, cell phones and take the TV out of the bedroom!
- Power down an hour before bed. Shut off your computer, TV and cell phone for a better nights rest.
- Adding a white noise machine or a fan in the summer can do wonders to block out the noise.
6. Massage your body
- The greatest kept secret in Ayurveda is Abhyanga. Abhyanda is a daily massage using therapeutic oils to help release toxins in the body and induce relaxation. With insomnia, I love Banyan Vata oil which includes Sesame oil*, Olive oil*, Ashwagandha*, Bala*, Shatavari*, Passionflower*, Bhringaraj*, Licorice*, Lemon Verbena*, Tulsi*, Valerian* massaged daily will reduce stress and anxiety.
7. Add nervines to your diet.
These group of herbs can help induce relaxation and alleviate stress and anxiety. Single-use or combined, these herbs help relax the nervous system and help you sleep. I like a cup of tea before bed, and if I wake at night, I might take a blended tincture of these herbs to help me get to sleep faster.
- One of the best-known remedies to induce sleep, chamomile can help relax the nervous system and aid digestion. Make a strong cup of tea (2-3tsp. per cup) and steep for 5-10 minutes or take a chamomile tincture 20-30 drops in a 1/4 cup of water.
- One of the most potent herbs in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is most well-known for its restorative properties. Known as an adaptogen, Ashwagandha is excellent for stress, fatigue and lack of energy. You can add some powdered ashwagandha to a cup of tea or take as a tincture before bed.
- Not only does passionflower help with insomnia and anxiety, but it also is known to reduce the effects of menopause (think insomnia, hot flashes, and anxiety) and can reduce ADHD symptoms in children. I prefer to combine passionflower with other herbs for a calming tea or tincture in my chamomile tea.
- This gorgeous orange flower is a member of the poppy family and is excellent for nervous anxiety, tension, bedwetting, and insomnia. I prefer the tincture form of California poppy; take 20-60 drops in 1/4 cup of water for adults.
- Known for it's calming and soothing effects. Lavender can be an excellent aid for a good night's sleep. I love using diluted Lavender essential oil on my body to help induce relaxation. You can also add lavender flowers to teas or use a tincture, along with other herbs to aid sleep.
For a more personalized solution to insomina; ask about my Health Consultations.
Warmly~ Tara Gregorio